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hot dog and beerAlcohol and Red Meat: Precursors to Prostate and Colon Cancer 
Alcohol and red meat increase the risk of prostate and colon cancer, respectively, in people with a certain genetic variant, according to a new study. As part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk study, researchers examined genes, diet, and lifestyle factors related to colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers. They found that people with the variant gene had a decreased ability to repair DNA when they consumed red meat, processed meat, and alcohol. This put the group at a higher risk for developing cancer. Higher antioxidant intake, specifically vitamin E and caratenoids, showed a protective effect for cancer risk in those with the genetic variant.

Loh YH, Mitrou PN, Bowman R, et al. MGMT Ile 143Val polymorphism, dietary factors and the risk of breast, colorectal and prostate cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk study. DNA Repair. Published ahead of print January 20, 2010. doi:10.1016/j.dnarep.2010.01.002.

Soy Fights Breast and Lung Cancers
Soy consumption improves breast cancer survival and helps prevent lung cancer, according to two new publications. In a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that women diagnosed with breast cancer who consumed soy products had a 32 percent lower risk of recurrence and a 29 percent decreased risk of death, compared with women who consumed little or no soy. The report included 5,042 women in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, the largest population-based study of breast cancer survival, and followed them for a four-year period.

Researchers in the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study found that soy consumption may also help fight lung cancer. They looked at 76,661 participants and found that those who consumed the most soy had the lowest risk of lung cancer. Among men who never smoked, researchers saw a significantly lower risk of lung cancer in those who consumed the most soy, compared with those who consumed the least. Researchers saw similar results in nonsmoking women, but they could not rule out statistical chance as the reason for these results. People who consumed the most soy may have participated in other activities that could lower risk such as eating more fruits and vegetables. Soy foods in this study included miso soup, soymilk, a variety of tofu dishes, and fermented soybeans.

Shu XO, Zheng Y, Cai H, et al. Soy food intake and breast cancer survival. JAMA. 2009;302:2437-2443.
Shimazu T, Inoue M, Sasazuki S, et al. Isoflavone intake and risk of lung cancer: a prospective cohort study in Japan. Am J Clin Nutr. Published ahead of print January 13, 2010. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28161.

Smoking and Meat Consumption Linked to Leukemia
Meat consumption and cigarette smoking significantly increase the risk of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to new findings from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. AML, a cancer that starts in the bone marrow, is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults. Researchers looked at nearly 500,000 participants and found that those who ate the most meat had an increased risk of AML, compared with those who ate less meat. They also found that former and current smokers had an increased risk, compared with those who never smoked. Participants who drank coffee had a lower risk of AML.

Ma X, Park Y, Mayne ST, et al. Diet, lifestyle, and acute myeloid leukemia in the NIH-AARP cohort. Am J Epidemiol. 2010;171:312-322.

Good Medicine: Meet the Power Plate

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