Archive for pancreatic cancer
Sugar, Glycemic Load, and Pancreatic Cancer Risk
There have been numerous studies lately linking insulin resistance and diets high in refined sugars to pancreatic cancer. A few things to consider here. First, pancreatic cancer is bad…very bad. Survival rates are rarely discussed beyond 3 years. Searching the archives of Research Updates should bring up information on Dr. Gonzalez, who was awarded a NIH grant for his approach to pancreatic cancer using detoxification, digestive enzymes and coffee enemas. Next, could the increased cancer risk actually be a result of hyperinsulinemia more significantly than the refined sugars? Hyperinsulinemia has already been linked to several other cancers. If this is this case, what does this mean for the insulin secretagogue drugs used for diabetes that prod the beta cells to produce more insulin (at least until they clog up with the amyloid that is also produced…)?
Cancer Spectrum: Michaud et al., pp. 1293-1300.
Tooth loss, pancreatic cancer, and Helicobacter pylori
While the reasons for these relationships are not certain at this time, this is a perfect example of the interconnection that every part of our body has. Poor dental hygiene has also been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. It would not surprise me if a diet high in refined sugars may be a link.
AJCN — Abstracts: Stolzenberg-Solomon et al. 78 (1): 176
Polyphenols inhibit pancreatic cancer growth
I realize that, to some of you, this seems like old news (and it is…). For those of you new to Updates, fruits and veggies contain literally thousands of substances we have not even identified yet that protect us from just about every disease on the planet…
Article Abstract -
Aspirin Use May Increase Pancreatic Cancer Risk
Well, doesn’t this just throw a wrench in the works for the “aspirin a day” crowd. I’ve always had a problem with the blatant use of aspirin to lower risk of heart attack. If someone’s really interested, I can give you 15 other things to do to lower risk of heart attack that will not increase risk of something else (actually, in most cases these changes will lower risk across the board for many other chronic diseases).
In this case, this presentation showed an increase in pancreatic cancer risk. For those of you that don’t know, pancreatic cancer is close to last on the list of cancers you would like to get. We just don’t have three year survival rates because most don’t live that long (with the exception of Dr. Gonzalez’s work).
News Main – American Association for Cancer Research.
Of all the cancers out there, pancreatic cancer is high on the list of scary ones. Treatment is expensive, debilitating and really does little to extend life except in unusual circumstances. Look at it this way–if Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze could not find resources to help them, what chance does the average person stand?
I don’t mean to sound negative, but it’s a very harsh reality when it comes to this particular cancer. Part of this may be due to the difficulty in diagnosis (it has a tendency to mimic other conditions like ulcers, abdominal pain, reflux and gallbladder problems), but I think it is just a very hard cancer to treat.
And the rates of pancreatic cancer are increasing at an alarming rate.
Just in case all the above has you scared, good. Maybe this will be enough to make the necessary changes to your lifestyle because pancreatic cancer is heavily preventable.
Sure, smoking, a family history of pancreatic cancer and a history of acute or chronic pancreatitis are risk factors that most know about. I remember being in a room with an oncologist telling a patient that we don’t really know why this person got pancreatic cancer because there were none of the traditional risk factors noted above. Sad that the oncologist apparently does not read medical journals.
So what do we know of that contributs to pancreatic cancer risk besides family history, smoking and pancreatitis? The list starts here:
- Prediabetes and diabetes are massive risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer.
- Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to pancreatic cancer.
- Higher intakes of compounds from tea, cabbage, fruits and wine led to a whopping 41% reduction.
- Soft drinks greatly increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
- Obesity combined with inactivity doubles your risk of pancreatic cancer.
The list certainly gets longer, but you get the idea.
Just in case you STILL don’t get the idea, let me point out this particular study.
Researchers looked at the levels of certain heavy metals and certain minerals to see how they related to the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Normally, I don’t blog on these types of studies, but the levels of risk and protection were so striking that I couldn’t pass it up. Here’s what they found:
- Cadmium (high in cigarette smoke, certain fertilizers) increased risk 358%
- Arsenic (mining, smelting and pesticides) double the risk
- Lead exposure topped the risk chart at 626% increased risk.
On the flip side, researchers found that two elements were very protective against pancreatic cancer:
- Higher levels of selenium (very high in Brazil nuts) led to a whopping 95% lower risk (yes–that’s almost a complete elimination of risk).
- Nickel (found in beans, cocoa, hazel nuts, almonds and pistachios) led to a still-honorary 73% lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Looking at these numbers, you can see that, with the right choices, the risk of one of the scariest cancers known to man can be almost eliminated.
As would be expected, the American Cancer Society lists only cigarette smoking as a risk factor for the development of pancreatic cancer. While the above study is not concrete, the recommendation to eat more Brazil nuts and avoid heavy metal exposure would certainly benefit everyone with little risk involved.
Prior to reading this blog post, were you aware that pancreatic cancer was preventable?
Vitamin D Intake and the Risk for Pancreatic Cancer in Two Cohort Studies.
Aw heck…I thought I’d begin and end this Update with more info on the importance of Vit D. And to add hear–pancreatic cancer is a great killer. We just don’t get 5 year survival rates with pancreatic cancer. With all the research showing strong protection of Vit D on several types of cancer, I am waiting for the American Cancer Society to come out with recommendations to increase Vit D intake. They wouldn’t even notice this drop in the bucket for prevention within that massive budget devoted to “finding a cure….”
Apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells induced by eicosapentaenoic acid
Pancreatic cancer is definitely low on the list of cancers you would want to get. There just aren’t 3 yr survival rates. A few years back, Dr. Gonzalez published a small clinical trial in pancreatic cancer using various approaches such as vegetarian diet, digestive enzymes, detoxification and coffee enemas and got a few patients in this trial past 3 yrs. The results were enough for the NIH to give him a grant to further his research.
You can bet the the positive results from his approach is not from one single approach; rather, it is the accumulation of many beneficial components in this lifestyle. In the study here, the researchers found that EPA, an essential fatty acid, induced the death of cancer cells in the lab. Not a bad start.
While there may be no “unscary” cancers, one could argue that pancreatic is low on the list of cancers anyone would like to get. Outcomes are dismal, leading to prevention being the answer.
This particular study found that those patients with more characteristics of metabolic syndreme (prediabetes) had 58% greater risk for development of pancreatic cancer. This is a cancer that most of the evidence is pointing to that can be prevented. This is not the first study finding a link between the way our bodies handle sugar and pancreatic cancer.
I have written before about how strong the links are between pancreatic cancer and diabetes. Considering that I consider diabetes the number one thing our bodies are constantly fighting against, this link with pancreatic cancer makes lifestyle changes that much more critical.
Regular readers of the Rantings know that I consider the fight against diabetes the greatest battle that the human physiology will fight. Live an anti-diabetic lifestyle and you will lower your risk not just for diabetes, but also for most chronic diseases like heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, dementia and cancer.
However, mainstream medicine understands the concern about diabetes and has created a large arsenal of drugs designed to combat the elevated blood sugar associated with diabetes. But at what cost? Can diabetic drugs lead to more problems than the diabetic condition itself would have? And what is the truth about diabetic drugs and pancreatic cancer?
Dietary Intake of Lycopene is associated with reduced Pancreatic Cancer Risk
While this should not come as a surprise, anything I can put out on pancreatic cancer prevention is important. This is still such a devastating cancer without a long list of identified modifiable risk factors like other cancers. Aspirin is also known to increase risk of pancreatic cancer.