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Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Reducing Cancer Risk with Healthy Habits

April 17, 2014

There are now more health recommendations for reducing your risk of cancer besides quitting tobacco. Eating healthy, shedding excess weight and staying active can not only prevent heart disease and diabetes, but can now reduce the risk of developing various cancers.

The Cancer Society states that excess body weight is related to a higher risk of endometrium, esophagus, colon, breast, rectum, pancreas and kidney cancer. Other cancers that have a higher risk as the amount of excess weight increases include liver, gallbladder, cervix, prostate and ovary cancer.

Being active is vital to help prevent cancer. Eating a large amount of calories compared to what is spent by the body can create an imbalance that leads to hormonal and metabolic changes in the body. These changes can lead to developing cancer, as well asother serious diseases. Individuals who have colon, breast, prostate and lung cancer often contract other diseases because of inactivity.

Following a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer. While there is no specific diet plan to follow, the American Cancer Society recommends that people eat plants and whole-grain foods that help control calorie levels. Another recommendation is eating meals earlier in the evening, which can help reduce how many calories are consumed and positively affect how many calories are burned.


Exercise and Cancer

Certain exercises have been linked to helping control and manage cancer, or preventing it. Here are some of the top exercises for cancer prevention:

Yoga: This activity can help with stress and fatigue from chemotherapy and cancer.

Walking: Brisk walking for at least seven hours a week helps reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Cardio/Resistance Training: Cardiovascular and strength training help control inflammation, hormone levels and strengthen the immune system.

Pilates: Pilates exercises help cancer survivors build up muscle strength and increase mobility and flexibility.

Tai Chi: This martial art helps with overall health, heart health, bone health and balance.

Type 2 Diabetes May Increase Liver Cancer Risk, Study Finds

January 29, 2014

When we think of a global epidemic, we often think of diseases like influenza or smallpox. Did you know, however, that type 2 diabetes is an emerging global epidemic that affects more than 347 million people worldwide? By the year 2030, diabetes is expected to become the seventh leading cause of death in the world.

A new study has found that those suffering from type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing liver cancer. The study was based on a large amount of data and brings added importance to diabetes prevention and methods of early detection.

According to, the study was conducted by researchers around the world and looked at individuals from different backgrounds, including white adults, Latino, Japanese-American, Native Hawaiian, and African American. The individuals were followed for a period of 16 years. Over the course of the 16-year period, 500 of the roughly 170,000 individuals analyzed developed liver cancer.


Critical linkage between type 2 diabetes and liver cancer

Researchers analyzed the data and found that having type 2 diabetes did increase the risk of developing liver cancer. Among the African American and Japanese American population, roughly 13 percent of liver cancer cases were attributed to their type 2 diabetes. This number was 6 percent among whites, and 26 percent for the Latino population. These results allowed researchers to confirm that in general, if someone is a type 2 diabetic, they were more likely to develop liver cancer.

Even with these findings, researchers noted that risk of liver cancer remained low even in type 2 diabetes patients. While the exact reason for the increased risk of liver cancer is unknown, one of the possibilities could be the medication people use to control their blood sugar levels. Overall, the researchers stated there was no direct cause-and-effect relationship found between the two diseases.

“Some of the drugs already have [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-ordered] black box warnings for bladder cancer,” said Dr. James D’Olimpio, an oncologist at Monter Cancer Center in New York, in the HealthDay article. “It’s not a stretch to think there might be other relationships between diabetes drugs and pancreatic or liver cancer. Diabetes is already associated with a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer.”


Miscellaneous study notes

Some of the other notes from the study mentioned how alcohol consumption had no impact on the relationship between diabetes and liver cancer. The same can be said for whether people smoked cigarettes. Other risk factors, including age, weight, and so on, were taken into effect within the data analysis.

Diabetes is often detected through a blood glucose screening, diabetes screening or other blood test such as those conducted by Life Line Screening. These screenings help to better gauge risk factors and promote early detection and improved treatment of the disease. Catching diabetes early can limit the dangerous health consequences that untreated diabetes can induce.

Study: Younger Women May Benefit from Mammograms

October 30, 2013

Current recommendations for breast cancer screenings by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest that women begin breast cancer screening every other year starting at age 50. According to the Chicago Tribune, however, a new study is showing that earlier screening may prove beneficial.

The study reviewed the deaths of 609 women who died from breast cancer. Results showed that half of the women were diagnosed before the age of 50 and over 70 percent of them had not previously been screened. Of all of the women who died, 30 percent occurred in women who were diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 49. Earlier screenings and screening more often would have detected more of these cancers and could have prevented some of the deaths.

Dr. Blake Cady, a professor emeritus of surgery at Harvard Medical School suggests that women “should be (screening) about every year in the 40s”. These findings are in line with the American Cancer Society’s current recommendation of annual mammograms beginning at age 40 for as long as a woman is in good health.


Benefits of Early Detection

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancers that are causing symptoms tend to be greater in size and have a higher probability of having spread outside the original area. Detecting cancers before they cause problems usually means they are smaller and more easily treated.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has accumulated data from several studies and organizations and has shown that some suggest that the benefits for screening younger women may not be as great as screenings for women who are over the age of 50. Younger women tend to have denser breast tissue and this can lead to abnormal findings in mammograms which may then lead to more invasive tests and procedures. However, most major health organizations are now encouraging earlier screenings as even modest increases in survival outweigh the risks.

Women should have a discussion with their doctors to determine if early screening is right for them. Several risk factors, including family history, drinking habits, or history of smoking, can increase the benefits of early screening for women who are at greater risk. Discussing these risk factors and benefits with a physician can help determine the best path to take.

Clinical Breast Exam vs. Mammogram: Which is Better?

October 25, 2013

Many women want to know the best way to figure out their breast health and breast cancer risk while remaining mindful of costs. Both regular breast exams and mammograms are important tools in the early detection of breast cancer.


Clinical Breast Exam (CBE)

A clinical breast exam, also known as CBE, is performed by a medical professional such as a nurse, doctor, nurse practitioner of physician assistant. During the test, the patient will be undressed above their waist. The healthcare professional will then do the following:

  • Visually inspect the breasts for areas where the size or shape appears to be abnormal or irregular
  • Look for any changes around the patient’s nipples
  • Using their fingers the medical professional will gently feel for areas of abnormality.

Portions of the exam may be uncomfortable, but the test should not be painful. The CBE is a good opportunity to learn the process of doing a self-exam. Self-exams are an excellent method of breast cancer screening. By performing a self-exam every month, women are better equipped to notice a change or catch abnormalities in their breasts early on.



Mammograms are conducted by X-raying the breast. During the mammogram, the breast is placed between two plates that spread the tissue to allow for better imaging. Images are taken from two different angles to provide the best possible images. This process is done on both breasts. During the mammogram:

  • The patient is required to disrobe above the waist
  • The technician will position your breast on the lower plate
  • When the images are taken, the upper plate will compress your breast for a brief time to spread the tissue to get the best images.

Mammograms can be performed on most women including those who:

  • Have large breasts
  • Are breast feeding
  • Have breast implants

The entire mammogram takes about 20 minutes to complete. Results of the mammogram are provided after the X-rays are reviewed by a physician. Mammograms may be uncomfortable, but they are excellent methods for detecting various stages of breast cancer or breast abnormalities.


Which Screening Method is Best?

According to the American Cancer Society, women over age 40 should have mammograms on an annual basis. For those women under age 40, with a normal breast cancer risk, with no symptoms of breast cancer, a CBE every three years is sufficient.
For women with above average breast cancer risk, breast cancer screening via mammogram and MRI may be recommended. Women should talk to their doctors to determine the best screening method for them.

Life Line Screening offers many resources on breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, including information on the Breast Cancer Screening Debate, Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer, and Why Some Women Ignore their Breast Cancer Risk.

Why Some Women Ignore Their Breast Cancer Risk

October 23, 2013

Many of us know someone who had or has breast cancer. This disease is both fairly common and well-publicized, especially during Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. As such, research and information on the condition are widely accessible. The risk factors are well-known and testing is readily available.

Regardless of all of this, many women with multiple risk factors end of ignoring or not believing the results of their testing. Some think that their risk is too low, while others ignore the more obvious signs of trouble ahead. Why?

According to the American Cancer Society, the risk factors of breast cancer include:

  • Gender (women have a higher risk)
  • 55 years or older
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Race and ethnicity
  • History of other breast conditions

In August 2013, the journal Patient Education and Counseling published the results of a study describing differences in the way women perceive their risk of developing breast cancer. In this study, 690 women used an online program to learn about medications that may help reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer. As part of the program, each woman received a tailored assessment identifying her personal breast cancer risk.

Researchers told half of the women how this risk was tallied. At the conclusion of the study, all participants were asked what they thought of the results. Nearly 20 percent said that they did not believe the assessment of their risk. They felt the test did not take all concerns, such as personal and family history, into account.

While the study’s authors believe that some patients may reject the results of testing as part of a natural skepticism, they still argue that screening is important. Assessing risk of breast cancer or the likelihood of developing other diseases, such as the preventive health screenings offered by Life Line Screening, can still be useful. This study shows that many patients may be more likely to accept a company’s assessment if they feel that their specific history has been taken into consideration.

Many women want to know the chances they will develop breast cancer, since it is such a serious condition. But when women are assessing their risk of contracting the disease, testing should be as complete as possible to ensure that they take the results seriously. Furthermore, preventive medicine only works if we take into consideration our risk factors for certain diseases. Being proactive with health is crucial to obtaining peace of mind or the knowledge needed to stop a catastrophic health problem before it gets worse.



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