Hormone Replacement Therapy Increases Risk For Breast Cancer

A new analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative now casts doubt on previous researcher’s findings that taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) isn’t dangerous. The study, published Friday by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, concludes that the prognosis for cancers related to hormone replacement therapy is just as dire as for other breast cancers. As a result, women who turn to the treatment are more likely to die of breast cancer than their non-hormone-taking peers.

The principal investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative and lead author of the new study stated, “You could fill a basketball arena with the women who get the disease.” “It seems like you’d want to reach a higher threshold before you take it.”

Nearly 70,000 postmenopausal women participated in randomized clinical trials as part of the Women’s Health Initiative project. The study participants who took estrogen plus progestin had higher rates of breast cancer diagnoses and of breast cancer deaths.

At the same time, more than 90,000 additional women took part in a related observational study that tracked details about their health and hormone use over an average of 11 years. Along with other observational studies, this one found that women who took hormones to treat menopause symptoms and got breast cancer were less likely to die from the illness than women who got breast cancer without taking hormones.

So he and his team identified a subset of more than 41,000 women from the observational study who more closely matched the women who took part in the randomized trial. In doing so, the researchers set aside data on women who were not using hormones when they participated in a study but had taken them in the past — a factor that had the potential to complicate the findings.

The new results fell more closely in line with the findings from the original randomized trial: Survival after breast cancer was similar for both hormone users and non-users. Tumors that arose in women who took hormones were no less deadly.

They had appeared to be, however, because women who had taken hormones years before might have already developed aggressive cancers and would not have been able to participate in the study in the first place.

HRT Study

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The Plant-Based Mediterranean Wallet

The Mediterranean Wallet

Americans constantly correlate a healthy lifestyle to expensive foods. This is not always the case. Yes, fresh foods, like produce for example, are normally higher in price compared to canned foods, or foods with a longer shelf-life.

Studies have shown that adopting the Mediterranean Diet helps reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attacks, amongst other chronic health disparities. The lifestyle stresses the importance of plant-based meals. One major ingredient in the diet is olive oil. The introduction of olive oil into the diet has been determined, to aid in feeling fuller long or the feeling of satiety.

Studies have also shown that an increase in plant-based meals can lead to a decrease in food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access to nutritional foods for at least some days or some meals for members of a household.

Researchers conducted a study to emphasize the use of simple, plant-based recipes and olive oil, following a Mediterranean diet pattern. A number of participants commented on how inexpensive a Mediterranean-style diet was.  So, the study approached a local food bank about designing their study using food pantry items for the program’s recipes.

Most people, who attempt at putting together a nutritionally balanced menu for their family or household, spend the bulk of their budget on meats, poultry, and seafood. These items, specifically lower-fat versions, tend to be the most expensive items someone will see on their grocery store receipt. Low socioeconomic status families will normally purchase these items first, leaving little left in the budget for healthier fruits and vegetables.

The researcher on the study explained that if the focus of the shopper could be changed to eliminate foods that are not needed to improve health from the shopping list, a healthy diet can be more economical.  Certain foods that could be crossed off that grocery store list include meats, snacks, desserts, and carbonated beverages/sodas.

The first 6 weeks of the study consisted of cooking classes where instructors prepared quick and easy plant-based recipes that incorporated ingredients like olive oil, whole grain pasta, brown rice and fruits and vegetables. The participant’s progress was tracked for 6 months after the conclusion of the cooking program.

One particular benefit for those attending the 6 week cooking class was that they were provided with groceries that contained most of the ingredients discussed by the class facilitators. The chosen ingredients provided to the participants would allow them to make 3 of the discussed recipes for their family members.

Once the classes were over, the researchers collected grocery receipts throughout the remainder of the study. Analysis of these receipts showed a significant decrease in overall purchases of meats, carbonated beverages, desserts and snacks. This was particularly interesting to the research team as they never offered instruction to the participants to avoid buying these items.

The further review of the grocery receipts showed that each household enjoyed an increase in the total number of different fruits and vegetables consumed each month. Participants cut their food spending in more than half, saving nearly $40 per week. The study also found that the reliance on food pantries decreased as well, indicating a decrease in food insecurity.

The research team also found that the cooking program had unexpected health benefits as well. Almost one-half of the participants presented loss in weight. This was not an objective in the study but, raised a few eyebrows. The study also showed an overall decrease in BMI of the participants.

Overall, this study shows that a plant-based diet, similar to the Mediterranean Diet, not only contributes to an overall improvement in health and diet. The study also highlights how a plant-based diet can contribute to decreasing food insecurity in America.

Plant-Based Med Diet Can Be Easy On the Wallet

6-week Cooking Program on Plant-Based Recipes

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Coffee linked with Cancer

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A new study finds people who drink more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day have half the risk of dying from oral/pharyngeal cancer as people who drink it either occasionally or not at all. However, the researchers say their findings need to be confirmed by more research, and for now should just be received as good news for coffee drinkers and not be used as a reason to recommend everyone should drink 4 cups of coffee a day.

Oral/Pharyngeal Cancer

Oral/pharyngeal or mouth and throat cancer is rarely diagnosed in the early stages because symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer is advanced. Also, the symptoms can be mistaken for something else, such as toothache.

The cancer can sometimes be spotted early during a routine exam by a doctor, dentist, or dental hygienist, and some dentists and doctors suggest you look at your mouth in a mirror at least once a month to check for symptoms.

The most common symptoms are a mouth sore that fails to heal, or a pain in the mouth that doesn’t go away.

The biggest risks for developing oral/pharyngeal cancer are tobacco and alcohol use. Most people who have it are tobacco users.

Researchers Examine Link with Coffee

Previous epidemiological studies have suggested coffee drinking is linked to a reduced risk for mouth and throat cancer.

It has also been suggested that it may not be the caffeine in coffee, but the fact it is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and other compounds, that help prevent or slow the development of cancer.

The study gathered a wealth of lifestyle and health information on 968,432 men and women, including their tea and coffee consumption. When they enrolled on the study, none of the participants had cancer, but over the 26 years of follow up, 868 died from oral/pharyngeal cancer.

When they analyzed the tea and coffee consumption in relation to deaths from oral/pharyngeal cancer, the researchers found those participants who reported drinking more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 49% lower risk of death from oral/pharyngeal cancer compared to those who reported not drinking coffee at all or only an occasional cup.

Conclusion and Next Step

The researchers conclude:

“In this large prospective study, caffeinated coffee intake was inversely associated with oral/pharyngeal cancer mortality. Research is needed to elucidate biologic mechanisms whereby coffee might help to protect against these often fatal cancers.”

“We are not recommending people all drink 4 cups of coffee a day. This is just a little bit of good news for those of us who enjoy coffee.”

“There may be some other effects of coffee that may prevent people with certain conditions from drinking a lot of caffeine,” she cautions, noting that:

“This study is about just one cancer site among many. There needs to be much more consistent research before we can support the conclusion that coffee should be consumed for cancer prevention.”

The team is now planning to analyze links between coffee consumption and cancer in a more diverse population.

The Society hopes to recruit at least 300,000 adults from a range of ethnic and racial backgrounds across the US to take part in CPS-3, which aims to increase knowledge of how to prevent cancer.

There has been a lot of debate recently about the benefits and harms of coffee drinking, with more recent news suggesting the benefits probably outweigh the harms.

But researchers spreading the good news are all saying the same thing, as Hildebrand and colleagues themselves point out in this latest study: while there appear to be some health benefits to drinking coffee, there also are a few concerns, and the evidence is not solid enough to actively encourage people to go out and drink coffee.

 

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253904.php