Prevention

A Heart-Healthy Diet Also Helps Prevent Cancer

Heart Healthy Diet Helps Prevent CancerA good diet is about fueling your body, eating real food and limiting processed foods. Good nutrition plays a crucial role in our well-being by helping maintain a healthy weight, and improving our immune system to prevent disease. In fact, nutrition guidelines for cancer prevention are similar to those for preventing other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

What do I mean by “real food”? Although some people have a stricter definition of it, I think a realistic goal is to eat foods that are as close as possible to their natural state, such as whole grains instead of processed white flour. Avoid packaged foods with a long list of unfamiliar ingredients. As a registered dietitian, I recommend eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes like beans. Select a variety of whole foods naturally rich in nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts are particularly good to eat as are tomatoes, berries, beets, peppers, apples, squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.

Strive for two thirds of your plate to consist of plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. The remaining one third of each plate should consist of lean high-protein foods such as fish, tofu, beans, or lean meats. No single food is the perfect one for cancer prevention, but a combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals can offer good protection according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

Make better choices when including fat in your diet. Consume monounsaturated fats, avoid saturated and trans fats. Monounsaturated fats (plant based) include olives, olive oil, canola and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 fatty acids and have an anti-inflammatory and blood thinning effect. Good sources are salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, walnuts and flax.

Avoiding foods that are bad for your heart can also help reduce cancer risk. Stay away from foods that are salted, cured, processed or smoked. Instead, choose lean animal products including chicken, fish, turkey and red meat cuts such as sirloin or loin. Limit refined carbohydrates and sweetened drinks. Both increase chances of being overweight and offer little nutritional value. Most of the sodium in our diets comes from processed foods rather than salt we add as a seasoning. Read food labels to learn exactly how much sodium is in a product. Everyone should reduce their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt).

The way in which you prepare your food can also make a difference in your overall health. Baking, broiling, microwaving, and poaching are preferable to grilling, frying, and charbroiling. If you enjoy the flavor of foods off the grill, try baking or broiling them first then put them on the grill briefly before serving.
Fueling your body with real food, limiting processed foods and beverages, and getting regular exercise will go a long way toward preventing cancer and heart disease, the top two causes of death in the United States.

Author: Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, LD, Nutrition Specialist, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, LDAbout Tiffany Barrett
Tiffany is a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and completed a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management. At Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, her role is to provide nutrition assessments and education for oncology patients and families during and after treatment. Tiffany graduated from Florida State University with Bachelor of Science and completed a dietetic internship at the University of North Florida combined with a Master of Science.

 

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Tackling Cancer on World Cancer Day*

World Cancer DayWe experience the burden of cancer here in Georgia and throughout the U.S., but cancer is not just an American problem. It is the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, cancer accounted for 7.6 million deaths (about 13% of all deaths) in 2008 and that number is projected to rise to 13.1 million deaths in 2030.

Every day, my Winship colleagues and I seek to identify better ways to prevent, treat, and ultimately cure cancer. Fortunately, we do not work in isolation. Our efforts are part of a global collaborative of cancer researchers and doctors, and one of the most rewarding aspects of this work is joining forces with scientists from all over the world who are committed to a shared goal of ending cancer.

Imagine a global community of scientists in continual conversation about the most up-to-date mindset for treating cancer. We are a vital part of that conversation.

I made two international trips late last year which captured the spirit of collaboration in cancer research. One trip was to Australia, stopping first at the World Conference on Lung Cancer in Sydney, and then on to Brisbane, where a unique partnership called the Queensland Emory Development Alliance (QED) is bringing together outstanding researchers from Emory, The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), to collaborate on new research projects primarily in the realm of cancer and infectious disease.

Several Winship faculty including William Dynan and Dennis Liotta are currently collaborating on cancer research projects with new colleagues at UQ and QIMR. My visit to Brisbane has resulted in early work towards furthering these and other collaborations. The World Conference on Lung Cancer in Sydney highlighted a number of important findings in our struggle against the leading cancer killer resulting from work conducted among my colleagues in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

In December, I flew to Chengdu, China, as a guest of the Chinese Society of Radiation Oncology (CSTRO) to deliver the keynote address at the annual CSTRO Symposium. As evidenced in this conference and in my subsequent visits to large cancer centers in Bejing and Jinan, there have been remarkable advances in cancer research and cancer care in China. There is also a tremendous level of collaboration between investigators at major Chinese universities and faculty at Winship and other major American cancer centers. Currently my colleagues and I are working each week on a clinical trial underway at eight Chinese cancer centers, comparing stereotactic radiation to surgery for patients with early stage lung cancer. I had a chance to meet with all of my colleagues conducting this research in China during my visit there and to celebrate this progress!

I’m extremely proud of the work performed here at Winship that contributes to advancing cancer research throughout the world. International conferences, as well as the many times we host scientists from other countries here on the Emory campus, enable us to share information and resources and benchmark our own contributions. But it’s when I return to Winship and see patients who are benefiting from discoveries made by my colleagues here and elsewhere, the value of collaboration truly hits home.

Seeing even one patient improve from the advances we make in cancer research and treatment is a reward worth sharing with the world.

*February 4th is World Cancer Day, when international health organizations support the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in promoting ways to ease the global burden of cancer. This year’s theme, “Debunk the myths,” focuses on improving general knowledge about cancer in order to reduce stigma and dispel misconceptions about the disease. More information: http://www.worldcancerday.org

Author: Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director, Winship Cancer Institute

About Dr. Walter Curran
Walter J. Curran Jr., MDWalter J. Curran, M.D. was appointed Executive Director of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in 2009. He joined Emory in January 2008, as the Lawrence W. Davis Professor and Chairman of Emory’s Department of Radiation Oncology. He also serves as Group Chairman and Principal Investigator of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), a National Cancer Institute-funded cooperative group, a position he has held since 1997. Curran has been named a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Chair in Cancer Research as well as a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar.

Dr. Curran has been a principal investigator on over thirty National Cancer Institute-supported grants and is considered an international expert in the management of patients with locally advanced lung cancer and malignant brain tumors. He has led several landmark clinical and translational trials in both areas and is responsible for defining a universally adopted staging system for patients with malignant glioma and for leading the randomized trial which defined the best therapeutic approach to patients with locally advanced lung cancer. He serves as the Founding Secretary/Treasurer of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups and is a Board Member of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Georgia CORE). Dr. Curran is the only radiation oncologist to have ever served as Director of a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center.

Dr. Curran is a Fellow in the American College of Radiology and has been awarded honorary memberships in the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology. According to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Curran ranked among the top ten principal investigators in terms of National Cancer Institute grant awards in 2013, and was first among investigators in Georgia, and first among cancer center directors.

Preventing Cervical Cancer Through HPV & Pap Smear Screening

HPV Vaccine Cervical CancerIn the mid 20th century, Dr. George Papanicolaou published his initial research about abnormal cells in cervical scrapings and cervical cancer. The test that now bears his name, the “Pap” smear, is perhaps the most successful cancer screening test in modern medical history. Cervical cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths in American women in the early 20th century; but since widespread screening began, cervical cancer rates have fallen by 70%. The Pap smear works by finding abnormal cells before symptoms of cervical cancer appear. Cervical cancer is prevented by treating pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix, known as cervical dysplasia. Gynecologists have a number of minor office surgeries to treat cervical dysplasia, such as freezing or removing the abnormal cells.

Despite this success, recommendations for cervical cancer screening and pap smears have changed dramatically in recent years. Many of these changes reflect a better understanding of the cause of cervical cancer. Almost all cervical cancers and cervical dysplasia are caused by a viral infection with human papillomavirus, or HPV. A majority of women have a HPV infection at some point in their adult lives. Most men and women infected with HPV will resolve the infections without any signs or symptoms. A small minority of women with an HPV infection will develop abnormal pap smears, cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer. HPV does the most damage when it is persistent. It will take years and maybe decades from initial HPV infection to develop cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer.

The American Cancer Society updated its cervical cancer screening guidelines in 2012. For women over 30 years of age, cervical cancer screening can include both an HPV test and a traditional Pap smear. More than 90 percent of women will have a negative HPV test and negative Pap smear. This is very reassuring news for these women. The combination of these two tests will detect nearly all cases of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer. Furthermore, women who are negative for both tests are highly unlikely to develop cervical cancer in the next five years. The American Cancer Society and other professional organizations have recommended that women between the ages of 30 and 65 have a Pap smear and HPV test every five years to screen for cervical cancer.

HPV testing in women under 30 years old is not recommended. HPV infections are common in this age group, and cervical cancer is relatively rare in women under 30.

The “annual exam” is a time-honored tradition for gynecologists in the United States, based on Dr. Papanicolaou’s historic breakthrough in the 20th century. In this century, multiple new tests and screening strategies have been developed, as well as an HPV vaccine recommended for girls age 9 through 26, to protect against the two types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers (click here for more on the HPV vaccine).

These new guidelines reflect a better understanding of the cause of cervical cancer, and promise to further reduce the burden of cervical cancer in women worldwide.

Author: Kevin Ault, MD
Winship Cancer Institute member and Professor, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Kevin AultAbout Dr. Kevin Ault
Dr. Ault is currently Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Emory University School of Medicine and a Winship Cancer Institute member. Dr. Ault’s research interests are based in infectious diseases and women’s health. He is an investigator in vaccine trials for both herpes simplex virus and human papilloma virus. His multidisciplinary research in the pathogenesis of infections due to chlamydia and gonorrhea has been supported by the National Institutes of Health. Board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1995, Dr. Ault came to Emory in 2005 from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

 

 

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6 Ways to Reduce your Risk of Cancer in the New Year

Walter J. Curran Jr., MD

It’s that time of year when we resolve to start fresh and break old habits, but did you know that some of the most common New Year’s resolutions could also help reduce your risk of cancer? Nearly 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and many cases could be prevented by taking steps to decrease risk.

Here are six ways to cut your chances of developing cancer:

  1. Stop smoking or never start: cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and many other cancers. Doctors recommend you stay away from all tobacco products and byproducts, including second hand smoke. Winship Cancer Institute is offering a step-by-step program developed by the American Lung Association to help you quit. To register, click here.
  2. Watch what you eat and drink: obesity is increasingly proven to be a major risk factor for certain cancers. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit red and processed meat consumption. Cut down on alcohol consumption; experts recommend no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
  3. Get physical: an active lifestyle is critical for your overall health and well-being, but studies show regular exercise can reduce the risk of a variety of cancers.
  4. Practice sun safety: protect yourself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation by wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Tanning beds and sunlamps are also associated with increased risk of skin cancer, so stay away.
  5. Get screened: early detection of certain cancers can make a difference in treatment and recovery. Women at average risk for breast cancer should have a clinical breast exam and mammogram every year starting at age 40. Cervical cancer screening is now recommended every five years for women at average risk between the ages of 30 and 65. Men and women 50 and older should begin screening for colorectal cancer with a colonoscopy or other early detection method approved by a physician.
  6. Know your family history: some cancers run in families, but before you ask for genetic testing, it’s important to know that most cancers are not linked to genes inherited from our parents. Your doctor can help you determine the right course of action.

When it comes to your health, being proactive about reducing cancer risk will help you not just in the New Year but for the rest of your life. What are some ways that you’ve resolved to get healthy this year?

By Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director, Winship Cancer Institute

About Dr. Walter Curran
Walter J. Curran, Jr. was appointed Executive Director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in September 2009. He joined Emory in January 2008, as the Lawrence W. Davis Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology and Chief Medical Officer of the Winship Cancer Institute.

Dr. Curran, who is a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar, has been a principal investigator on several National Cancer Institute (NCI) grants and is considered an international expert in the management of patients with locally advanced lung cancer and malignant brain tumors. He has led several landmark clinical and translational trials in both areas and is responsible for defining a universally adopted staging system for patients with malignant glioma. He serves as the Founding Secretary/Treasurer of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups and a Board Member of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Ga CORE). Dr. Curran is the only individual currently serving as director of an NCI-designated cancer center and as group chairman of an NCI-supported cancer cooperative group, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.

Dr. Curran is a Fellow in the American College of Radiology and has been awarded honorary memberships in the European Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology. In 2006, he was named the leading radiation oncologist/cancer researcher in a peer survey by the journal Medical Imaging. Under Dr. Curran’s leadership Emory’s Radiation Oncology Department has been recently selected as a “Top Five Radiation Therapy Centers to Watch in 2009” by Imaging Technology News. Dr. Curran ranked among the top 10 principal investigators in terms of overall NCI funding in 2010 and among the top 20 principal investigators in overall NIH funding in 2010.

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Cancer Risk Dramatically Reduced Since Landmark Smoking Report Issued 50 years Ago

Dr. Fadlo KhuriFifty years ago this month, Dr. Luther Terry, Surgeon General of the United States, issued the landmark 1964 Surgeon General’s Report providing the first definitive proof that cigarette smoking causes both lung and laryngeal cancer. This announcement came after a committee of experts had worked for 18 months, reviewing more than 7,000 published papers and engaging 150 consultants.

The importance of this report and its findings cannot be overstated. Fifty years ago, we did not know that smoking definitely causes lung cancer and other diseases, only that smoking was associated with a higher risk of these diseases. Recognizing that the impact of tobacco on our national and, indeed, the world’s health was the major public health issue of the day, Dr. Terry assembled an unimpeachable panel of distinguished physicians and scientists. He chose individuals for the panel who were not only among the giants of medicine and science, but were also objective and could ensure the integrity of the report.

The report was based on what ranked as the largest and most careful review of the medical literature yet undertaken. Most importantly, the report was clear, evidence based and unequivocal. It showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that smoking caused both lung cancer and larynx cancer. The report concluded that cigarette smoking is 1) a cause of lung cancer and laryngeal cancer in men; 2) a probable cause of lung cancer in women; and 3) the most important cause of chronic bronchitis.

The impact of the report on public perception was astonishing. In 1958, only 44% of Americans believed that smoking seriously impacted health, according to a Gallup Poll. Ten years later, and four years after the report’s release, that number had climbed to 78%. The report also galvanized the anti-tobacco movement. Its findings have lent enormous credence to smoking cessation efforts over the last 50 years. In 1964, 52% of adult men and 35% of adult women smoked cigarettes. This had fallen to 21.6% of adult men and 16.5% of adult women by 2011.

Today, we are certain that tobacco causes some of the most widespread and devastating diseases in the world, including cancers of the lung, larynx (voice box), esophagus, mouth, throat and bladder, which together account for about 30% of the world’s cancer-related deaths. Tobacco is also a major cause of heart disease, emphysema and other diseases of the lungs and heart.

There have been several subsequent reports issued by the Surgeons General, the latest an eye-opening look at smoking behavior among the younger generation. This, like all prior reports, builds on that first landmark report from a great physician leader and his matchless panel of experts. The impact of their efforts on smoking in the US and the world is unquestionable. The debt that the world owes these 12 brave scientists has never been greater.

Author: Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, deputy director, Winship Cancer Institute

Want to learn more about the impact of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on smoking? View this video as Dr. Khuri further discusses the effect the report has had on the medical community.

About Dr. Fadlo Khuri
Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, deputy director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Hematology & Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine, is a leading researcher and physician in the treatment of lung and head and neck cancers. He is Editor-in-Chief of the American Cancer Society’s peer-reviewed journal, Cancer.

Dr. Khuri’s contributions have been recognized by a number of national awards, including the prestigious 2013 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award, given to an outstanding cancer researcher by the American Association for Cancer Research.

An accomplished molecular oncologist and translational thought leader, Dr. Khuri has conducted seminal research on oncolytic viral therapy, developed molecular-targeted therapeutic approaches for lung and head and neck tumors combining signal transduction inhibitors with chemotherapy, and has led major chemoprevention efforts in lung and head and neck cancers. Dr. Khuri’s clinical interests include thoracic and head and neck oncology. His research interests include development of molecular, prognostic, therapeutic, and chemopreventive approaches to improve the standard of care for patients with tobacco related cancers. His laboratory is investigating the mechanism of action of signal transduction inhibitors in lung and aerodigestive track cancers.

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Johns Creek Community Encouraged to Get Colonoscopy Screenings

Colorectal Cancer AwarenessAccording to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It is also the third most common cancer diagnosed at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, and the number of cases diagnosed at Emory Johns Creek has increased each year since 2007.

It is well known that the earlier we can make a cancer diagnosis, the better the chance for successful treatment. The Cancer Committee at Emory Johns Creek reviewed data on colon cancers diagnosed at the hospital and found that more than 50% of its cases were diagnosed at a later stage. In fact, about 52% were detected at stage III or IV. According to the National Cancer Database (NCDB), the national average is about 39%.

The reason early diagnosis makes a difference: When diagnosed at stage I or II, the cancer is usually still confined to the colon and has not yet spread into lymph nodes or other organs. In these early stages, surgery to remove the tumor is frequently the only treatment required. Additionally, the outlook for long term survival is greater at these stages.

When colon cancers are detected at later stages, surgery often has to be combined with other therapies, such as chemotherapy or radiation. At Emory Johns Creek, about 45% of patients can be treated with surgery alone, compared to 58% nationally. For the Johns Creek community, this highlights the importance of getting colonoscopy screenings ensure that any diagnosis is made at the earliest possible stage.

Individuals should speak to their physicians about when it is appropriate to begin screenings, but the American Cancer Society recommends both men and women should begin screenings at age 50. However, individuals who have had polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer or have suffered from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, may need to begin screenings earlier.

Make a New Year’s resolution to fight colorectal cancer:

  • If you are 50 years or older, call your physician to help you get scheduled for a screening
  • If you have friends and family 50 years or older, or may be at higher risk, urge them to schedule a screening

Awareness of Symptoms Can Help Detect Ovarian Cancer Earlier

Ovarian Cancer Awareness MonthOvarian cancer used to be called the “silent killer” because it was thought the symptoms of this gynecological cancer often appeared too late to begin effective treatment. However, we now know certain symptoms do occur early enough to help catch the disease when it’s easier to treat.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain (below the stomach and above the hips)
  • Trouble eating
  • Getting full quickly
  • Urinary urgency
  • Urinary frequency

While ovarian cancer may not be silent, it may be more appropriate to call it devious since these same symptoms often are caused by more common, and less lethal, conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

In reality, ovarian cancer is rare, accounting for about 3% of all cancers in women. Statistics published by the American Cancer Society estimate a women’s lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 72, and her lifetime chance of dying from it is 1 in 100. In comparison, a women’s lifetime risk of developing lung cancer is about 1 in 16 and 1 in 20 for colorectal cancer.

However, ovarian cancer is still the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in U.S. women. Women experiencing these symptoms should see their gynecologist, especially if:

  • symptoms occur almost daily last for more than a few weeks and;
  • feel different from “normal”—in other words, the symptoms are more frequent or severe than usual.

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stomach upset
  • Back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal swelling along with weight loss

No one is truly sure what causes ovarian cancer; however, genetics and ovulation appear the biggest factors.

Ovarian cancer risk factors include:

  • Age— Risk increases as women age, particularly after menopause, until about the age of 75. Ovarian cancer in women under 40 is rare.
  • Reproductive history—Women who have never been pregnant, have suffered multiple miscarriages or have undergone multiple abortions appear to be at higher risk
  • Family and personal history of cancer— The risk of developing the disease can be as much as 50% higher in women whose mothers or sisters have had ovarian cancer. Risk also increases in women who have been treated for breast, uterine or colorectal cancer. In fact, women in this risk group may want to consider BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing. Mutations in these genes can indicate a higher risk.
  • Fertility treatments— Women who have taken fertility drugs to induce ovulation, such as clomiphene, tend to be at higher risk.
  • Lifestyle—Obesity and high-fat diets have been shown to increase risk.

On the other hand, risk seems to decrease for women who have:

  • Taken birth control pills
  • Given birth to one or more children, with each full-term pregnancy dropping the risk by about 10%
  • Breast fed
  • Undergone tubal ligation or a hysterectomy

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Foods That Fight Breast Cancer For You!

Nutrition to Fight CancerOur experts at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University cannot stress enough the importance of incorporating a healthy diet and exercise plan into everyday life, not only for cancer and disease prevention, but also maintenance to prevent recurrence after treatment.

Winship oncology nutritionist, Tiffany Barrett, recently sat down with CNN to discuss foods that help in the fight against cancer, no matter what stage. Some key advice: include a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, eat whole grains, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and soy in moderation.

Check out the video below to hear the full version of Tiffany’s discussion on breast cancer fighting foods.

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Which Sunscreen Is Best?

Which Sunscreen is Best?Most of us know that wearing sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect our skin from damaging UV rays and prevent skin cancer. But with the plethora of sunscreen options out there, choosing a sunscreen can be more complicated than it should be. If you feel overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless SPF and UV protection options, not to worry! A recent New York Times article addressed changes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered sunscreen companies to incorporate into future product labeling.

As the occurrence of melanomas and other skin cancers continue to rise, awareness around proper use of sunscreen is more important now than ever. Approximately one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year, making it the most common type of cancer in the United States. The three forms of skin cancer are distinguished by the types of cells affected: melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell. The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma; however, if caught early, it can be treated.

To prevent the misuse and confusion caused by misreading of sunscreen labels, the FDA has mandated that the following be included on every sunscreen product:

  • Listing of “broad spectrum protection,” meaning the sunscreen has been proved to protect against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Any product with an SPF lower than 15 must carry a label warning that it will not protect against skin cancer
  • Products cannot claim to be waterproof, only water-resistant, and labels must note a time limit before the sunscreen is ineffective
  • Manufacturers can still sell sunscreens with SPFs that exceed 50; however, the FDA is evaluating whether or not they should remain on the market

According to the New York Times article, the FDA also warns against the use of sunscreen sprays and powders, stating that there is not enough data to support the efficacy of these products on preventing sun damage, and that consumers should be cautious of products with endorsements and seals of approval, as this typically means the manufacturer has donated money to become an endorsed member of an organization.

In a past online live chat hosted by Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Winship dermatologist, Suephy Chen, MD, addressed some frequently asked questions around the topic of sunscreen use and skin cancer prevention. One major takeaway from the chat: sunscreen should be applied every day, especially for people who have experienced sunburns or used tanning beds in the past. “The amount of sunscreen you use during the first (whole body) application of the day should be enough to fill a standard sized shot glass,” says Dr. Chen. She goes on to advise that “sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or after you’ve perspired and/or have gotten in and out of the water.”

Remember, skin cancer is generally treatable if detected early. All the more reason to slop on the SPF! And if you haven’t done so lately, give your body a quick scan, and repeat this practice at least once a month. Get to know the pattern of your moles, spots, freckles, and other marks on your skin. If you notice any new moles or changes in shape or color to existing ones, please contact your healthcare provider.

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Cigarette Smoking Linked to 30% of All Cancers

Help Your Loved Ones Quit SmokingSmoking has long been linked to lung cancer, and most Americans have heeded the warnings that smoking causes lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is a direct cause of 80% of lung cancer deaths in women and 90% of lung cancer deaths in men.

But a fact that many don’t know is that cigarette smoke is also a contributor to 30% of all cancers. How could it be that cigarette smoke gets into organs other than the lungs? As it turns out, the actual smoke does not, but the carcinogens in tobacco smoke do get into your blood stream and thus into other parts of your body.

Some of the cancers linked to smoking are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Head and Neck Cancers
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Acute myeloid leukemia

Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, and 69 of these are known to be causes of cancer. (carcinogenic).  These carcinogens damage genes that allow cell growth.  When damaged, these cells grow abnormally or reproduce more rapidly than do normal cells.

Secondhand smoke is also bad,  causing 49,000 deaths each year.  Secondhand-smoke exposure also has been found to be detrimental to cardiovascular health, particularly in children.

While smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, there is hope for smokers. Much of the damage to your body caused by smoking can be undone over time. Also, there are many successful programs to help you quit.

The best way to prevent smoking-related cancers is to never smoke, but by quitting at any time, you lower your risks of developing a smoking -related cancer.

Smoking Cessation Resources:

For information on smoking cessation, visit:

The Georgia Quit Line provides free counseling, a resource library, support and referral services for tobacco users ages 13 and older. Callers have the opportunity to speak with health care professionals who develop a unique plan for each individual.

About Joan Giblin, NP

Joan Giblin, Winship Cancer Institute

Joan Giblin, NP has a total of 43 years of nursing experience, 25 as a family nurse practitioner and 16 as an oncology nurse practitioner, where she is actively involved in patient care and clinical trials.

In 2011, Ms. Giblin assumed a new role as the director of the Winship Survivorship Program with primary responsibilities for developing the program as a resource for patients and a means to facilitate continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors. Prior to this, she was the director of the Winship Call Center, the first point of contact for new cancer patients, and was instrumental in establishing protocols and procedures to streamline access to care at Winship.

Giblin’s experience as an oncology nurse practitioner gives her insightful perspective on the needs of cancer patients and cancer survivors. As a clinical nurse practitioner, she was part of the aerodigestive team, specializing in the care of patients with head and neck, lung and throat cancers.

Giblin’s current research is in the area of survivorship related to long-term and late effects of cancer treatment and adherence to follow-up care.

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