I’ve just returned from the annual AACR conference in Orlando – the American Association for Cancer Research that is – and met a lot of researchers working on prevention and survivorship issues. This is one of the major cancer conferences and it was nice to see several AICR-supported scientists present their work.
When it comes to how diet and other lifestyle factors influence cancer risk, there was some interesting work, starting with the first presentation. In the plenary, Harold Varmus, MD, director of the National Cancer Institute, talked about how more research needs to look at prevention and why people continue cancer-risky behaviors when the risk is known.
Highlights of the conference include:
– Breast cancer survivors with poor physical health scores may have a higher risk of recurrence, a secondary cancer, and death from any cause, according to an observational study from researchers from UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.
– Eating a daily dose of freeze-dried strawberries — a 10-fold concentrated form of the natural fruit — for about six months appeared to slow the development of esophageal tumors. The study, from scientists at Ohio State University included 36 participants and now needs to be tested in larger, randomized study, noted the lead author.
– Breast cancer survivors who gained relatively large amounts of weight may increase their risk of death after diagnosis. Moderate weight gain did not affect breast cancer outcomes. This study included almost 19,000 survivors.
– One of the presenters at a session on supplements and cancer was Tim Byers, MD, MPH, a researcher at the University of Colorado Denver and one of the experts on AICR’s expert report. In a posting after the session, Dr. Byers noted that the many studies on supplements have not shown improved cancer risk. You can read his posting here.
In an AICR-funded study, University of Massachusetts, Amherst’s Hang Xiao, PhD, presented a poster on how the combination of compounds found in the orange peel and a common cholesterol-lowering drug interacted to slow the growth of colon and lung cancer cells.
And AICR-funded Qi Dai, MD, PhD, of Vanderbilt University presented a poster on a study suggesting that some genetic variations in a specific gene may interact with dietary intakes of calcium and magnesium to influence the risk of colorectal adenoma, potential precursors to colon cancer.
You can read more about the conference at the AACR site.
Were you at the conference or do have something to share about it?
This question of why people continue cancer-risky behaviors fascinates me. Since my cancer diagnosis I have learned (and continue to learn) everything I can about diet and lifestyle choices that can help me fight my cancer. I find that my friends who have not yet had to face their own mortality don’t realize the risks they are taking by overindulging in some of the less than beneficial food and drinks.