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By Joseph Gonzales, R.D., and Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.

healthy lifestyle for preventing cancer

Lifestyle Changes Vital for Preventing Cancer
About 340,000 cancer cases could be prevented every year in the United States if Americans ate healthful diets, exercised, limited alcohol consumption, and made other lifestyle changes, according to a new report released by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Worldwide, cancer is a leading cause of death, accounting for 7.6 million deaths and 12.7 million new diagnoses per year. Lifestyle changes could decrease cancer risk by 38 percent for breast cancer, 45 percent for colon cancer, and 47 percent for stomach cancer.

AICR/WCRF preventability estimates: Update to estimates produced for the 2009 Policy Report. 2011. American Institute for Cancer Research/World Cancer Research Fund. Available at: Accessed Feb. 7, 2011.

Carcinogen in Grilled Chicken May Increase Cancer Invasiveness
A carcinogen found in grilled chicken may make breast cancer more aggressive, according to new research. In the October issue of Toxicology, Imperial College London researchers shared results of a study treating human breast cancer cell lines with PhIP, one of a group of carcinogens called heterocyclic amines. PhIP is commonly found in grilled and barbecued meats, especially chicken. Very small doses of PhIP caused the cells to become more invasive. The higher the PhIP dose, the more invasive the cancer cells became. Some PhIP doses were worse than 17B-estradiol, the most common form of estrogen, in their tendency to promote cancer. Estrogen is a major promoter of breast cancer cells.

The authors concluded that PhIP is not only a potent breast cancer culprit because of its ability to damage DNA, but could also increase the likelihood that breast cancer cells will become metastatic, worsening existing disease.

Lauber SN, Gooderham NJ. The cooked meat-derived mammary carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6- phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine promotes invasive behaviour of breast cancer cells. Toxicology. 2011;279:139-145.

Antioxidants Help Fight Cervical Cancer
Consumption of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants reduces the risk of cervical cancer in women with human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a recent study. Women with HPV infections are at increased risk of cervical cancer, which develops in stages: one must acquire HPV; the virus persists; HPV-induced lesions develop; and, finally, the lesions progress to cervical cancer. Researchers found that women with HPV-induced lesions who consumed more antioxidants reduced their chances of developing cancer.

The specific beneficial antioxidants are a-carotene, which is found in pumpkins and carrots, and ß-cryptoxanthin, which is found in pumpkin, sweet red peppers, and papaya. 

Siegel EM, Salemi JL, Villa LL, Ferenczy A, Franco EL, Giuliano AR. Dietary consumption of antioxidant nutrients and risk of incident cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Gynecol Oncol. 2010;118:289-294.

Boggs DA, Palmer JR, Wise LA, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake in relation to risk of breast cancer in the Black Women’s Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. Published ahead of print October 11, 2010. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq293.

The Cancer ProjectThe Cancer Project is a nonprofit PCRM subsidiary that advances cancer
prevention and survival through nutrition education and research.


Good Medicine: NASA Monkey Radiation Experiments Canceled

Good Medicine
Spring-Summer 2011
Vol. XX, No. 2

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Good Medicine

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