Thank you for joining us for the live online chat on the topic of Skin Cancer and Melanoma on May 28. We had excellent questions on skin cancer and melanoma. The key takeaway from the chat is that prevention is the best medicine for skin cancer and melanoma. Once you are burned the damage is already done to your skin. So remember to wear your sunscreen (SPF of 30 or greater), wear hats and protective clothing and avoid the sun in the heat of the day (10am – 2pm). Take action now to avoid detrimental long term effects from the sun.You can read a full transcript of the Skin Cancer and Melanoma chat here.
Posts Tagged ‘cancer prevention’
Studies consistently show that a good diet and regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease, but did you know you can also reduce your risk of cancer by eating well and regularly exercising? Our genes play a large role in whether we develop cancer (some cancer types more than others), but studies show, and our experts at the Winship Cancer Institute confirm, we can take action to lower our risk of developing many cancer types. By avoiding tobacco products, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and staying active, you can dramatically reduce your risk of dying from cancer.
I hosted an online chat on the topic of healthy eating during the holidays this week, and in it we covered lots of topics related to nutrition, health, exercise and wellness. Below are some of the most important takeaways from the chat for you to apply not just during the holidays, but year round!
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. We may tire of hearing it, but maintaining a healthy body weight is essential to your health.
- As many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths are linked to excessive body weight. Obesity is clearly linked with increase in several types of cancer, including breast, colon and rectum, edometrial, esophageal, kidney and pancreatic cancer.
- Regular physical activity is critical to your health and wellness. Physical activity can help reduce the risk of breast, colon, endometrial and prostate cancers.
- Adults should try to exercise for either 75 minutes per week at high intensity, or at least 150 minutes at moderate intensity each week. The latter equates to just two and a half hours of walking.
- Children should exercise one hour each day at moderate intensity, but 3 days a week at high intensity, and limit sedentary activities such as sitting, lying down, playing video games, watching TV, etc.
Maintain healthy eating habits by emphasizing consumption of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. As I mentioned in the chat, all fruits and vegetables have protective and preventive cancer benefits. Here are some guidelines to consider when it comes to nutrition:
- Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Choose whole grains as opposed to refined grain products (such as white rice).
- Limit red meat and processed meat.
- If you can’t get fresh produce, opt for frozen fruits and veggies over those in a can. Frozen produce is typically less processed and contains less sodium.
- If you’re looking for protein options other than meat, try beans, nuts, soy, eggs, yogurt, cheese, milk, and whole grains such as barley and quinoa.
Limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol is a known risk factor for cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast.
- Women should limit themselves to one drink a day.
- Men should limit consumption to 2 drinks per day.
For more from our chat, you can view the chat transcript here. Although we can not totally prevent cancer, we have the ability to reduce our own risk by taking action. Winship wants to help you win the fight against cancer by arming you with as much knowledge as possible! If you have additional thoughts, questions, or tips to share, please do so using the comments below.
Tiffany Barrett provides personalized nutritional advice to Emory Winship patients who are undergoing cancer treatment. Ms. Barrett also consults with patients who have completed treatment and wish to continue to build a strong and healthy diet. She earned her Bachelor of Science at Florida State University and a Master of Science at University of North Florida. Tiffany is a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and completed a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management.
- Top 8 FAQs: Nutrition’s Role in Fighting Cancer
- Healthy Eating Web Chat Transcript
- Emory Healthcare Healthy Recipes
- Winship Cancer Institute Healthy Recipes
- Nutrition Services at Winship
- Full List of American Cancer Society (ACS) Nutrition Guidelines (PDF)
You’ve heard the health tips a million times: exercise regularly, eat a healthy, balanced diet, and limit alcohol consumption. And the most frequently recommended tip to improve overall health and prevent disease? Don’t smoke.
Tobacco use continues to hold the top seat as the single greatest preventable cause of disease and premature death in America. It’s evidence like that which prompts Emory Healthcare, the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, and the American Cancer Society to take action towards improving awareness around the importance of quitting smoking for the 45 million Americans who still smoke cigarettes and the 15 million Americans who smoke cigars or pipes.
Each year, the American Cancer Society hosts its Great American Smokeout event to create a way to encourage current smokers to set a date, as a group, to quit. This year’s Great American Smokeout takes place on November 15, 2012, and we want to encourage those members of our community who smoke or use tobacco products to take an important step in owning their health by joining others who will choose to make November 15 their quit date.
Quitting is not easy and there’s no single approach that works for everyone, but there is help. If you are trying to quit smoking, know that you have the support of the Emory community and hundreds of individuals like you who have been through it. Carla Berg, PhD, assistant professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and an expert on smoking behaviors, says most people make multiple attempts to quit before being successful, “but every time you try, you’re one step closer to actually quitting. And if you quit by age 30, research shows you’ll have the same life expectancy as someone who’s never smoked.”
And no matter what your age, your health improves every day you’re not smoking. It’s never too late to quit.
When it comes to tobacco-use, there are no hypotheticals. Smoking cigarettes causes cancer, heart disease, lung disease and stroke. As an academic medical center, we are constantly searching for treatments and cures for disease, and we are just as passionately committed to disease prevention. To that end, Emory has implemented our own tobacco-free policy to promote and support the health of our patients, families, staff and community. As of September 1, 2012, the Emory family—including the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Emory Healthcare—is a tobacco-free organization.
We ask that on November 15, 2012, you join us. We ask that you commit to quitting; commit to your health; commit to a better life.
If you have suggestions to share with our readers that have helped you or a loved one quit, please share them in the comments below. For more information and support resources related to quitting and the Great American Smokeout, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.
- American Cancer Society – 2012 Great American Smokeout
- 7 Reasons to Quit Smoking (2011 Great American Smokeout Resources)
- Putting Our Community First: Tobacco-Free at EHC
For loved ones, the future, survival, or for camaraderie—these are just a few of the reasons over 2,900 participants chose to participate in the 2nd annual Winship Win the Fight 5K run this past Saturday, October 13, 2012. With perfect weather and a motivated crowd at McDonough Park in Atlanta, it could not have been a better day for participants to join the fun in support of the fight against cancer. Those in attendance agreed, you could feel the energy in the air of the motivated participants who’s individual answers to the thematic question of the race, “Why do I run?” may have been very different, but together, were all moving forward in support of the health of cancer patients and survivors alike.
The Winship Win the Fight 5K supports advances in cancer research, treatment, and patient care at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Winship is Georgia’s only National Center Institute-Designated Cancer Center.
This year, a running total of $375,000 was raised, but the fight’s not over! If you would like to join the 2,900 supporters who ran for a cause last Saturday, you can still donate today. Let’s make that number grow and play our own role in helping others win the fight against cancer.
You can check out some shots from this year’s Winship 5K race at McDonough Park below, and if you were there with us, tell us in the comments below why you decided to run and what you enjoyed most about the event!
We had a great discussion on April 11th about nutrition with Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, LD. She answered some great questions about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet to fight off cancer and enhance treatment. If you missed out on our live chat, the transcript is available here. Also, see below for highlights from the discussion.
Q: What are some good foods to eat during cancer treatment or to prevent cancer from reoccurring?
A: When it comes to reducing the likelihood of recurrence, reducing saturated fat intake is very important. This includes eliminating animal fat, butter, lard, etc. It is important to increase your intake of plant foods and grains while incorporating a variety of produce into your diet (i.e. leafy greens, berries, etc.).
Q: Is there a role that sugar plays in cancer?
A: First, it’s important to note there’s a difference between natural and refined/processed sugars. Unlike naturally occurring sugars found in fruit and dairy, processed sugars are significantly correlated with elevated bad cholesterol and triglycerides (fat in blood) and low good cholesterol. Eating too much added sugars can also result in excess body weight, which can increase the risk of cancer. It is best to limit your intake of sugar and sugary foods to protect your health, limit excess calories and make room for nutrient-dense foods that contain naturally occurring sugars (fruit, low-fat dairy).
Q: What is a good substitute for sugar?
A: There always are options like stevia, honey and agave nectar, but all of these are a bit sweeter than real sugar, so using less of them is advised. It’s important to understand that using moderation in any sort of sweetener is key. If you are having sugar cravings, focus on natural sources of sugar.
Q: Is there a connection between soy products and cancer?
A: There is evidence that soy intake (whole soy foods, rather than processed) prior to cancer diagnosis can have preventive effects. This has been found specifically with breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Whole soy food includes tofu, soy milk, edamame, and soy beans, whereas processed soy is found in things like soy hot dogs, soy burgers, soy powders, etc.
Q: Is food the best source for receiving nutrients? What about supplements and vitamins?
A: Our body best digests and absorbs nutrients through food consumption. There’s actually no hard evidence to demonstrate benefit from a standard multivitamin or other supplement use. Consuming nutrients through food allows for a wider variety of vitamins.
Q: Are meal replacement drinks a feasible option to getting proper nutrition during cancer treatment?
A: Meal replacement drinks certainly can be and often are helpful in combating or overcoming some of the side effects of treatment, such as loss of appetite. There are a wide variety of meal replacement drinks that provide a full balance of necessary nutrition, and also ways that people can make their own protein and meal replacement drinks at home to suit their taste.
Q: Is there any connection between physical activity and cancer prevention?
A: Absolutely. Regular, moderate physical activity: 4-5 times per week for 30-45 minutes each time, has been shown to have preventive effects.
Q: How important is it to start early with good nutrition to receive preventive benefits?
A: Starting young as far as introducing good eating habits to children is imperative. It’s also important to educate at a young age about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. Good nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight are important in reducing not only your risk for cancer, but for a whole host of other conditions that are largely preventable.
For more information on diet and nutrition, please visit Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. To make an appointment, please call 404-778-7777.
Maintaining a healthy diet is important, especially during cancer treatment. Your body is stressed– both from the treatment and cancer itself. It’s imperative to make sure that you’re getting the proper nutrition, vitamins, and minerals you need to stay strong and fight infections.
According to the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Nutrition Guidelines, it’s best to eat a diet consisting of plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and foods low in fat.
Omer Kucuk, MD and Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University says, “there are bioactive compounds in foods, particularly in fruits and vegetables. These bioactive compounds have potent anti-cancer activities; for example, broccoli contains indole 3 carbinol, which has been shown to have anti-cancer affects, especially in prostate cancer and breast cancer.”
While certain foods have been show to help prevent cancer, evidence also shows that specific food compounds, such as soy isoflavones and curcumin, can increase the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
“We have found that soy isoflavones enhanced the efficacy of cancer treatment, specifically the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In addition to that, soy isoflavones may also prevent the side effects of these two cancer treatments,” reports Dr. Kucuk. Soy isoflavones are plant-derived compounds with estrogen-like activity that may help protect against hormone-dependent cancers according to ACS. Get more information on soy isoflavones and how proper nutrition can help during cancer treatments.
More in-depth studies are currently underway to find which bioactive compounds in foods aid in cancer treatment and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. The American Cancer Society reports “that a higher intake of vegetables may have a helpful effect on recurrence or survival for breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, but this is not definite.”
Still, ACS recommends that cancer survivors get at least five servings of colorful fruits and vegetables each day due to the overall benefit they provide. All cancer and cancer treatments affect the body differently. An individualized nutrition plan based on your likes and dislikes, and what your stomach can handle, is going to be beneficial during your treatment journey. A registered dietitian can help you and your family answer questions and address concerns about managing your diet, weight, treatment side effects, and supplement information.
If you’re looking for specific tips, ideas, and ways to incorporate cancer fighting foods into your diet, check out the transcript from our online live chat on Nutrition’s Role in Fighting Cancer. Also, check out Emory Healthcare’s recipe page for some easy, tasty and healthy dishes!
March is colorectal cancer month, and an article in the New York Times highlights the important role colonoscopies have played in reducing deaths from colorectal cancer. The study included patients tracked over 20 years after receiving a colonoscopy, which lead to the detection and removal of precancerous polyps, known as adenomatous polyps. Findings from the study show that the combination of a colonoscopy and polyp(s) removal lowered the colorectal death rate by 53 percent. While not all polyps turn into cancer, evidence shows that early detection and intervention are keys to survival. In the spirit of helping raise awareness around Colon Cancer and the importance of colonoscopies as a diagnostic and preventive tool, below you’ll find some helpful resources and important information about colorectal cancer.
Colorectal Cancer Statistics
According to the American Cancer Society, “excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.” That means in 2012, estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases that will be diagnosed in the United States are:
- 103,170 new cases of colon cancer
- 40,290 new cases of rectal cancer
But, if detected early enough, colorectal cancer is curable. So, how is colorectal cancer detected?
Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis
According to the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, “colorectal cancer usually starts in the innermost layer of the lining and slowly progresses through the other layers.” There are several ways of diagnosing colorectal cancer, but the most popular method is a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a special type of cancer screening because it allows doctors to screen and intervene at the same time.
During a colonoscopy, the doctor will use a colonoscope, which is a flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end. They use this instrument to look at the entire length of the colon and rectum. If the doctor finds abnormalities such as polyps or growths, he or she can remove them right away while patients are under sedation. Special instruments can be passed through the colonoscope to remove the suspicious looking areas before they have the chance to turn into cancer.
According to Roberd Bostick, MD, MPH and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, “most of the time, a colonoscopy is the most effective means for diagnosing [colorectal cancer].Certainly, if a person were to have symptoms that would be suggestive of colon cancer, then those symptoms might precipitate them wanting to have a diagnostic test, like a colonoscopy.”
For a full list of symptoms and risk factors of colorectal cancer, please see below. Watch the full video discussion with Roberd Bostick, MD, MPH. Also, bring your additional questions to Dr. Bassel El-Reyes and Dr. Roberd Bostick’s colon cancer chat on March 20th (UPDATE – CHAT TRANSCRIPT).
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor to be properly diagnosed and treated. It’s important to note that these symptoms may not necessarily be a result of colorectal cancer. Other health problems can produce similar symptoms, which is why it is important to contact your physician if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below:
- Change in bowel habits:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
- Finding blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
- Finding your stools are narrower than usual
- Frequent gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated
- Loss of weight for no apparent reason
- Feeling very tired all the time
- Nausea or vomiting
Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors
The main risk factors for colorectal cancer are uncontrollable. They are heredity, family history and personal medical history. Other risk factors include:
- Presence of an inflammatory bowel disease (i.e. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.)
- Other controllable factors
- Red meat consumption
- Processed meat consumption
- Alcohol consumption
Remember, early detection is the key to providing the best chance for a cure. It is important to contact your physician if you are experiencing symptoms or are at risk for colorectal cancer. If your physician feels it’s appropriate, a screening test, such as a colonoscopy, will most likely be recommended to rule out the possibility of cancer.
With all this information, what can you do to stay healthy? Take action and make sure you are getting regularly screened! While a colonoscopy is bound to not be the most pleasant experience, it could potentially save your life by detecting colorectal cancer early when the disease is easier to cure. If you are interested in learning more about colorectal cancer, make sure to check out the chat transcript the colorectal cancer chat.
Contact us for more information about our colorectal cancer treatment programs: 404-778-1900 or request an appointment online.
If you want a loved one to stop smoking and you feel tempted to nag him or her, you may want to try to curb your impulse. You might be doing more harm than good, a Winship Cancer Institute expert says. Reinforce positively and try not to nag, advises Carla Berg, Ph.D., a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control department of Winship and also a professor in the Rollins School of Public Health.
With Heart Month upon us and roughly 17-18% of adults in the United States continuing to smoke, this is important. Smoking is not only is the major cause of lung cancer, the nation’s number one cancer killer, but it’s also responsible for as many as 30% of all coronary heart disease deaths in the United States each year. Smoking is a major risk factor for more than two dozen other cancers, including head and neck cancer, bladder cancer and stomach cancer.
Berg says an important component can be providing support to someone who is trying to quit. The initiation, maintenance and cessation of smoking is strongly influenced by other family members, Berg says. Smokers are more likely to marry smokers, to smoke the same number of cigarettes as their spouse, and to quit at the same time. Smokers who are married to nonsmokers or ex-smokers are more likely to quit and remain abstinent. In addition, married smokers have higher quit rates than those who are divorced, widowed or have never married. Research shows that support from the spouse and from other family members and friends is highly predictive of successful smoking cessation. In particular, supportive behaviors involving cooperative behaviors, such as talking the smoker out of smoking the cigarette, and reinforcement, such as expressing pleasure at the smoker’s efforts to quit, predict successful quitting. Negative behaviors, such as nagging the smoker and complaining about smoking, are predictive of relapse. In fact, supportive behaviors have been associated with initial smoking cessation, while negative or critical behaviors have been associated with earlier relapse.
In addition, encouraging the establishment of smoke-free homes reduces exposure to secondhand smoke among all people living with smokers. Because secondhand smoke exposure has been found to have detrimental effects on the cardiovascular health of people living with smokers, particularly children in homes where smoking occurs, promoting smoke-free homes is critical. Research also has shown that creating smoke-free homes also encourages attempts to quit smoking and reduced cigarette consumption among smokers.
- Talk the smoker out of smoking the cigarette
- Express pleasure at the smoker’s efforts to quit
- Encourage smoke-free home policies
- Support attempts to quit
- Nag the smoker
- Complain about smoking
- Shun the smoker
- Shame or guilt the smoker
- 7 Reasons to Quit Smoking Today
- Myths About Tobacco-Related Bladder Cancer Go Up in Smoke
- Quit Smoking, Your Heart Deserves a Break
- Quit Smoking to Save Your Life
Who could have imagined that a three-letter virus – HPV — could generate so much confusion and controversy?
Oh, wait, there is precedence for all the political posturing, fear and mis-information about HPV, the human papillomavirus, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. We saw the same take place around HIV, a far more deadly virus and one that continues to wreak havoc and claims thousands of lives a year. And it took decades of advocacy, much of which is still ongoing, to bring attention to the need to stop HIV in its tracks, before it leads to AIDS. That same advocacy and public health campaigning is now underway to help consumers better understand HPV and what people can do about it, and how important it is for young people to receive vaccines that can protect them from infection with the virus.
Researchers have identified more than 40 types of HPV, a very common virus that the human body normally sheds on its own. Two types – HPV 16 and HPV 18 — are of special concern in the cancer community, though, because, undetected and untreated, they lead to most cases of cervical cancer. Now one of them, HPV16, is proving to be the cause of most new cases of throat cancers that develop at the base of the tongue and tonsils.
Routine pap tests and annual gynecological exams have lowered cervical cancer incidence in the United States, but cervical cancer is still one of the leading cancer killers of women worldwide. Thus, great research emphasis was placed on finding a vaccine to prevent infection with HPV 16 and 18 in the first place. Now there are two such HPV vaccines licensed by the FDA to prevent the spread of HPV and thus to prevent cervical cancer.
While screening with the Pap test has long proven an effective way to help prevent cervical cancer in developed countries, screening for HPV 16 infection for throat or other kinds of cancer would be fruitless. While 20 million Americans are estimated to be living with HPV 16 in their systems, 90% of those people will clear the virus on their own. A big concern with HPV 16 and throat cancer is that doctors do not yet understand why the virus becomes cancer in some.
Because the virus is so widespread yet causes cancer in a relatively small percentage of cases of infection, screening for it does not make sense, explains Dr. Shin, a leading head and neck cancer specialist at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. The most important unanswered question about HPV16 and throat cancer is why does it develop into cancer in some people but not in the majority of people.
“How does this virus get into a host cell and then go into carcinogenesis? This is what we would like to address,” explains Dr. Dong Moon Shin. Winship researchers such as Shin are aggressively looking for answers.
Much of the confusion and political hoopla about HPV have stemmed from misinformation about the vaccine, which is unfortunate. The vaccine is safe. It is effective. Because of the rising incidence of oropharyngeal cancer, it is now advised that both girls and boys also receive the vaccine, which is given in a series of three shots. To be effective, the shots must be given before a girl or boy becomes sexually active and is not administered to females after they hit age 26. Some of the concern about the vaccine is that parents don’t like the idea of giving children another round of vaccines, but the HPV vaccines have been approved by the FDA after rigorous clinical trials. They work.
HPV facts & stats:
- More than 40 types of HPV have been identified by researchers.
- More than 20 million adult Americans are believed to be living with the HPV 16 virus.
- In 90 percent of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV within two years.
Prognosis for cases of HPV16-caused throat cancer is good, so long as the patient is a non-smoker. Winship researchers and others are looking for ways to identify whether patients with HPV16-caused throat cancer need as much treatment as patients whose cancer is not caused by the virus.
Dr. Peter Rossi and Dr. Namita Khanna just hosted an online chat on the topic of HPV and cervical cancer. For their thoughts, check out the HPV / Cervical Cancer chat transcript.
In November of last year, right after Breast Cancer Awareness Month wrapped up in October, we pledged to keep pushing for breast cancer awareness year-round. It’s been almost a year since that date, and we’ve made some great strides in raising community awareness and action around breast cancer.
September 2010 – Emory Healthcare launched an overhauled breast health microsite to provide educational resources on breast health and breast cancer to web users. Website release is followed by launch of Emory Healthcare and Winship at Emory cancer blog.
November 2010 – Pledged to keep breast cancer awareness going throughout the year. Started by asking for feedback from the community. Those who provided feedback, tips & stories were entered to win tickets to the GA Tech v. UConn women’s basketball game.
Feburary 2011 - The Emory Breast Center and Winship Cancer Institute partnered with Georgia Tech women’s basketball again, this time for their “PINK” game. Breast cancer survivors joined together to form the tunnel the Lady Yellow Jackets ran through to enter the game.
March 2011 – The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University received a high impact donation from the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation in the amount of $5 million. The donation contributes to supporting breast cancer patient care, research, education and community outreach.
October 2011 – The Winship Cancer Institute and Emory Breast Center kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month by hosting a live online web chat with breast surgeon and surgical oncologist, Dr. Toncred Styblo. The well-attended chat provided a free opportunity for the community to ask questions about breast cancer risk, prevention, screening and more.
October 2011 – Emory Healthcare and the Winship Cancer Institute partner with 11 Alive News for an hour-long community education special on beating breast and prostate cancer that is aired across the Atlanta area and various cities across the nation.
And we’re not done yet! The Emory Breast Center has a number of events lined up in the month of October to keep momentum going.
All of our team members from Emory Healthcare, the Winship Cancer Institute and the Emory Breast Center would like to thank our community for helping us make this an awesome year for breast cancer prevention awareness. We have lots more to do to keep the momentum going!
In the comments below, we’d love it if you’d share with us an example of something you’ve done over the last year to help promote breast cancer awareness.