breast cancer

  1. Obesity is the number two cause of cancer

    The other big cause of cancer

    Everyone knows smoking is the single biggest cancer risk factor. But most people can't name number two on the list, despite the fact that this cancer cause is far more common than cigarettes.

    It's obesity -- and a new report out of the UK blames it for 17,000 cases of cancer each year in that country alone.

    That's a lot of cancer... but that's small potatoes compared to the numbers here in the United States, where obesity is responsible for nearly 100,000 new cases of cancer every single year.

    And while smoking has been linked to at least 14 types of cancer, obesity is no slouch in this department either: Excess weight is a major risk factor for cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, colon, rectum, breast (especially after menopause), kidney, thyroid, and gallbladder.

    It's also a risk factor for endometrial cancer, which is cancer in the lining of the uterus.

    Obesity leads to excess insulin and insulin growth factor-1, which is why people who gain weight are at risk for diabetes. But excess insulin and IGF-1 can also promote or even cause cancer.

    Fat cells can also produce hormones that stimulate the growth of other cells -- including tumor cells.

    And of course obesity can stimulate the production of estrogen, and excess estrogen can lead to certain types of breast cancer.

    Once you have the disease, obesity can even make it harder to treat -- especially those breast cancers, since the drugs for the condition work by attempting to block the estrogen that's feeding the tumor.

    If your estrogen levels are higher in the first place thanks to excess weight, those drugs have a hard time keeping up. One new study finds that obese breast cancer patients have double the levels of estrogen of normal-weight patients after taking those meds.

    Not every cancer risk factor is within your control, with plenty of cases caused by some combination of bad genes and worse luck. But the new numbers out of the U.K. find that smoking, obesity, and other lifestyle factors are responsible for up to 40 percent of all cancers.

    That means 40 percent of all cancers never had to happen.

    We've done a great job educating the public about the dangers of smoking, to the point where even people who haven't quit at least know they should.

    Now, it's time to do the same for obesity.

    Speaking of cancer, I've got an update on a possible cause many people don't know about... yet.

    Keep reading!

  2. Working the night shift can increase breast cancer risk

    Jobs that can give you cancer

    In today's 24-hour society, someone always has to work the night shift. Try to make sure that someone isn't you -- especially if you're a woman.

    We've known for years now that shift work can boost the risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and more for men and women alike. Now, women can add one more risk to that long (and growing) list: breast cancer.

    Women who work at least two nights a week have a 40 percent higher risk of the disease than those who work days, according to new research out of Denmark... and believe it or not, those are actually the lowest numbers in the study.

    The risk doubles in women who work three or more nights for at least six years, and shoots up by 400 percent in women with night jobs who describe themselves as "morning people," according to the study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

    Part of the problem is that shift work itself comes with a bunch of other unhealthy habits. Just try finding a place to get a healthy meal at 2 a.m., and forget finding energy for the gym after spending all night on the job.

    But there's more to it than that.

    Shift work throws your circadian rhythm out of whack, and that alone is a risk factor for disease. Your body also relies on those normal signals of "light" and "dark" to activate "wake" and "rest" functions -- such as the production of the hormone melatonin, which our bodies make at night.

    You may know melatonin as the sleep hormone, but it does so much more than that -- and there's plenty of evidence that it can help protect against cancer.

    And that's a big part of the reason shift work has been linked to cancer before, and not just breast cancer. It's such a widely recognized risk factor for so many cancers that the World Health Organization has listed it as a "probable carcinogen."

    In addition, people who work nights face a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, heart problems, and more.

    Some people work toward a promotion or a pay raise. If you're on the night shift, make it your goal to work toward something that's better than either: Work your way onto the day shift instead.

    Speaking of cancer, I've got some news for those of you who are fighting the disease and need a little help overcoming fatigue.

    Keep reading!

  3. Ginseng can ease fatigue in cancer patients

    Up to 90 percent of all cancer patients battle fatigue, but new research shows that ginseng can help restore those energy levels.
  4. The tests seniors should skip

    Even as the mainstream moves away from routine cancer screenings for men and women alike, there's one group of Americans that are still getting screened regularly for cancers that almost certainly won't hurt them. And that's the elderly.
  5. Spine drug linked to cancer risk

    It's like a nightmare, except you never get to wake up: A drug used during a common back procedure has been linked to cancer -- including one of the deadliest forms of the disease on the planet.
  6. What your Ob-Gyn doesn't want you to know

    You might think medical guidelines are based on years of clinical evidence and gold-standard research. After all, doctors use them every single day to make life-or-death decisions. In reality, they're based on the whims and fancies of the medical elite... and that's especially true when it comes to women's health.
  7. Low marks for high-tech mammograms

    A new spin on mammograms has managed to take a badly flawed technology... and make it even worse. The technology is called computer-aided detection, or CAD, and it's supposed to help radiologists find potential cancers in breast tissue -- which would be great if it actually worked.
  8. New guidelines push more mammograms

    Just when I thought we were getting somewhere with cancer screenings, yet another organization has cooked up its own set of guidelines. And it's a huge step backwards.
  9. The cancer-busting diet you can start today

    What do tumors and bellies have in common? They both get bigger on a high-carb diet.
  10. Cancer treatment raises death risk

    Avastin. The massively expensive cancer drug was rushed through the approvals process in 2004 despite the fact that it clearly wasn't ready for primetime.
  11. Mainstream media pushing meds on healthy women

    In a bizarre and misleading report in the Los Angeles Times, an ill-informed reporter and a series of researchers wonder why women with no sign of breast cancer have rejected two powerful and dangerous drugs, tamoxifen and raloxifene, to help lower their risk of getting the disease.
  12. The MRI Myth

    There's no question that MRIs have changed the way breast cancer is diagnosed and, as a result, how the patients who get them consider their treatment options. But have MRIs been better than mammograms? No.
  13. Diet linked to cancer risk in women

    For women, new research shows how the high-carb lifestyle can harm you in other ways: These foods, and foods that rank high on the glycemic index, can increase the risk of breast cancer.
  14. More bad news for antidepressants

    New research shows that these powerful meds can cancel out the effects of the most popular cancer-fighting drugs used by women who have suffered from breast cancer.
  15. Non-bioidentical hormone unleashes cancer on study group

    I've always worried about the dangers of non-bioidentical hormones. And after you read this, you'll be worried too.
  16. The secret weapon against breast cancer

    If you're a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, all the more reason to have your vitamin-D level checked: research suggests a link between low levels and recurrence of, or death from, the cancer.

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