Exercise, nightly fasting reduce cancer risk
• Alcohol, processed meat linked to stomach tumour
Scientists have recorded major advances in the search for effective treatments for cancers with the discovery that just five hours of exercise weekly and nightly fasting can reduce the risk for breast cancer and survival for prostate cancer by more than 35 per cent.
Also, scientists have found that compound within experimental cholesterol drug causes cancerous cells to fall apart and die. Findings published online in JAMA Oncology found that fasting during sleep for more than 13 hours a night may offer protection against recurrence of illness among women with early stage breast cancer.
It has been shown that when people eat, as well as what they eat, may help prevent recurrence of breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer death among women in developing countries and the second most common cause of cancer death in developed countries.
Much attention has focused on the positive effects of a healthy diet on breast cancer outcomes. However, the results of research into which foods or food groups and which dietary patterns can help have been mixed.
Recently, a new theory suggested that timing also matters, and that when we eat has an impact on metabolic health and cancer.
Previous mouse studies have shown that rodents who consumed a high-fat diet but repeatedly fasted for at least 16 hours experienced protection against abnormal glucose metabolism, inflammation and weight gain. All of these factors have been linked to poor cancer outcomes.
Dr. Ruth E. Patterson of the University of California-San Diego, United States (U.S.), and colleagues have been looking at the potential effects of nightly fasting on breast cancer prognosis.
They looked at data for 2,413 women who were registered in the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living study from 1995-2007. The average age of the women was 52.4 years. All participants had early stage breast cancer and were aged 27-70 years at the time of diagnosis. None of the women had diabetes.
On average, the participants fasted for 12.5 hours each night.
The study focused on the recurrence of invasive breast cancer and new primary breast tumors during an average follow-up time of 7.3 years, in addition to death from breast cancer or any cause over an average 11.4-year period.
Women who fasted for less than 13 hours a night had a 36 per cent higher risk for breast cancer recurrence, compared with those who fasted for 13 or more hours.
No link emerged between shorter fasting time and death from breast cancer or mortality from any other cause.Patients with early stage breast cancer who fasted for longer had significantly lower concentrations of HbA1c and longer sleep duration.
Since nightly fasting appears to improve glycemic control and sleep, the researchers propose that, as well as having a positive effect on breast cancer outcomes; longer fasting could help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other cancers.One limitation of the study is the use of self-reported dietary data.Nevertheless, the authors note that the findings have important implications for public health.
They say: “Our study introduces a novel dietary intervention strategy and indicates that prolonging the length of the nightly fasting interval could be a simple and feasible strategy to reduce breast cancer recurrence.”
They call for further studies, including randomized trials, to test the effectiveness of prolonging nightly fasting in reducing the risk of chronic disease.
Medical News Today has previously reported that adhering to a calorie-restricted diet that mimics fasting for a limited period of time may be good for the health.
Meanwhile, experts have found just five hours of exercise a week could radically improve prostate cancer patients’ survival chances.Doctors have long advised that keeping fit and healthy throughout a lifetime reduces the risk of becoming ill with a number of diseases, including some cancers.
But now scientists have has found that even after a man has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, he still has time to improve his prognosis with regular physical activity.Experts in the U.S. tracked more than 10,000 men with prostate cancer for 20 years.
They found that prostate cancer patients who undertook at least five hours of ‘moderate’ exercise a week – which includes gardening, cycling, doubles tennis or walking – were 34 per cent less likely to die of their disease than those who did less than one hour a week.
The researchers warned, however, that only walking was not sufficient to improve outcomes – men also had to undergo some elements of more vigorous exercise to see a difference.
The team, who presented their data at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in New Orleans, recently, also found that men who exercised before they were diagnosed had a reduced chance of dying from their disease.
For these men, walking alone did make a difference. Just four hours of weekly walking before diagnosis reduced mortality rates by 33 per cent, and walking for seven hours reduced the risk by 37 per cent.
The data suggests that men who exercise throughout their lifetime have a reduced chance of dying of prostate cancer.But even after diagnosis, men can improve their lot, but need to do slightly more exercise to make a difference.
The new findings suggest that men with prostate cancer should do roughly double the recommended minimum to make a difference to their life expectancy.
Study leader, Dr. Ying Wang, of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia, said: “Our results support evidence that prostate cancer survivors should adhere to physical activity guidelines, and suggest that physicians should consider promoting a physically active lifestyle to their prostate cancer patients.”
Also, research has shown that an experimental drug designed to lower cholesterol may turn out to be an effective weapon against prostate cancer.
Tumours need cholesterol to build their cell walls. By cutting their cholesterol production a chemical compound known as RO 48-8071 causes the cancerous cells to fall apart and die.
Prof. Salman Hyder, from the University of Missouri in the U.S., who led the research said: “Often, cancer patients are treated with toxic chemotherapies.
“We focused on reducing the production of cholesterol, which could kill [the] cancer and reduce the need for chemotherapy.”The study, to appear in the journal OncoTargets and Therapy, tells how Professor Hyder’s team found that the drug killed cancer cells in the laboratory.
The drug company Roche for the treatment of high cholesterol originally developed the compound.Hyder’s team found that human prostate cancer cells exposed to the drug in the laboratory died.When the drug was injected into mice with human prostate cancer, tumour growth was curbed.
Importantly, the drug appeared to be effective against prostate cancer cells that had become resistant to hormone treatments.
Meanwhile, a major new scientific report released by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund found that drinking alcohol, eating processed meat and being overweight increase the risk of developing stomach cancers.
The American Institute led the Continuous Update Project (CUP) report for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
Scientists systematically gathered and analyzed data relating to stomach cancer, after which a panel of leading international experts evaluated the results independently.
The authors found strong evidence that certain products increase the risk of stomach cancer, and specifically: drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day, or more than 1.5 ounces of pure alcohol; eating foods preserved using salt; and consuming meat processed by smoking, curing, salting, or by adding preservatives, such as ham, bacon, pastrami and salami, hot dogs and some sausages.
Findings suggest that if a person eats two strips of bacon each day, every day, or about 1.8 ounces of processed meat, the risk goes up by 18 per cent.
Strong evidence also suggests that people whose body mass index (BMI) classifies them as overweight or obese are at greater risk of cardia stomach cancer. The risk appears to increase by 23 per cent for every five BMI units.
There are signs that consuming grilled or barbecued meat and fish contribute to the risk, whereas consuming fruit, and especially citrus fruit, may help prevent stomach cancer.
The researchers call on people to maintain a healthy weight, keep physically active, eat a healthy diet and limit or avoid alcohol consumption.
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