Millions of Australians are predicted to get colon cancer. Here’s some evidence on how to lower your risk.

 

About_Bowel_Cancer_polyp_progression_770newMillions of Australians are predicted to get colon cancer. Here’s some evidence on how to lower your risk.

A while ago a new report released  by leading social demographer Bernard Salt, who said  by 2026, 4.6 million baby boomers and 4 million Gen Xers “ will be subjected to a bowel cancer lottery” purely because of their age. (Source. http://www.smh.com.au/national/millions-of-australians-at-risk-of-bowel-cancer-20160320-gnmlzr.html#ixzz43V3GG58M ).

 

This is concerning  for a preventable cancer. How then do we reduce the risk for ourselves and our families.

To start with there is some evidence that poor diet and nutrition, the amount of alcohol you drink and a sedentary lifestyle increase your relative risk of bowel cancer.  Diabetes and obesity really elevate the risk of bowel cancer and these modern chronic diseases are largely attributed to the same lifestyle choices associated with bowel (colorectal) cancer.

There is also one other major factor , chronic stress. Chronic stress is often associated  with development of chronic disease and cancer.  The stress-response involves many changes in the body as it is prepared to survive a threat. When this happens repeatedly everyday the normal functions of the body become disrupted. Repeated chronic stress causes unrelenting inflammation, which damages tissue in our blood vessels and  inside of our gastrointestinal tract. This inflammation is referred to as mucosal inflammation and this causes a great deal of problems. Mucosal inflammation damages the lining of your intestines (mucosa) and creates a hostile environment for healthy bacteria, which is not good because when your healthy bacteria population dwindle the unhealthy ones often move in.

Several studies implicate unhealthy bacteria and lack of healthy bacteria as a factor in the development of colon cancer. Such Finally stress is not only something that happens externally and you react to it. Your gut can get very distressed when you swallow something that it hadn’t evolved to use and to protect itself from toxic substances the gut immune function starts the inflammation process.  The inflammation makes cells vulnerable to DNA damage and it is also an environment where a cancer tumour thrives.

There is no proven silver bullet to avoid colorectal cancer , but we can change many habits to reduce  mucosal inflammation and create an gut environment that is hostile to bad bacteria. Both of these changes will reduce our risk of colorectal cancer.

Here’s a brief list of lifestyle changes that would help reduce your risk of mucosal inflammation and colon cancer: –

  • Probiotics
  • Fermented foods
  • Look at your comfort eating?  Are you? Why?
  • Don’t binge drink
  • Don’t eat  processed foods
  • Eat fibre
  • Eat some fruit and vegetables everyday or supplement with super food drinks
  • Cook whole foods as much as possible
  • Use eco-friendly toxic chemical free cleaning and household products
  • Eat less processed meats and eat less meat
  • Get a comprehensive blood test every year including inflammatory markers CRP, ESR and all essential vitamins and minerals, fasting glucose, insulin, blood fats and anything else relevant to your health. Then address any nutritional deficiencies and other concerns.
  • Balance your essential fats intake (as Omega 3,6,9)
  • Over 50 and family history of bowel cancer? Consult your doctor for whether you may benefit from test for bowel cancer.
  • Suffering from chronic constipation/diarrhoea/ or an IBD? Consult a integrative medicine practitioner for help.

And work on being less distressed. Bring down those stress levels

  • Find a way to slow down, relax and take time out. Sitting in front of the television is not relaxation, but listening to meditation music with absolutely  no distractions is.
  • Sweat! – do intensive exercise 3-5 times a week
  • Move! – get up from your office chair and move around for 5 minutes every hour

 

Comments

This is a brief and very incomplete explanation of cancer , which is incredibly complex. Never the less it is indisputable that most cancers are not a genetic destiny they are often a result of how we have lived our lives and perhaps some bad luck.

Some sources for this article

 

Gut microbiota and colorectal cancer – (PMID:27350830 PMCID:PMC4917993)

Schwabe RF, Jobin C. The microbiome and cancer. Nat Rev Cancer. 2013;13(11):800–12. doi: 10.1038/nrc3610.

A human colonic commensal promotes colon tumorigenesis via activation of T helper type 17 T cell responses – doi:10.1038/nm.2015

Chronic inflammation, colorectal cancer and gene polymorphisms.

(PMID:21088407 PMCID:PMC2997443)

Alcohol and Cancer Incidence – http://epic.iarc.fr/highlights/alcoholcancerincidence.php

Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer – http://epic.iarc.fr/highlights/vitamindcolorectal.php


Is working in an office really as unhealthy as smoking?

Well yes sitting down for eight hours a day is slowly killing you and shortening your lifespan equivalent to being a smoker.

Sitting for hours without any activity in the office and then coming home and slumping in front of the television is a ticket to an early grave so the experts are telling us. Good news is physical activity doesn’t mean high intensity training in the gym or running 5km every day. It means movement. but with some exertion e.g. do some chair squats, lunges, chair push-ups,  – who cares what your coworkers think they’ll be pushing up daises whilst you are reaping the benefits of a your office exercises.

Why not walk to a cafe that is a 10 min round trip , find some stairs and walk up and down them 5 times. Do something for a few minutes until you can feel your heart pumping.  This is more or less what the research is saying: do something for 5 minutes every hour in the office. I recommend  including real exercise in your weekly routine where you break a sweat and get your heart racing to 70% of your maximum. However the good news is that recent research says low intensity  frequent activity that adds up to an hour of movement seems to cancel out the deadly consequences of not moving at all.

Here’s some highlights from the article and a link to it

Office workers must exercise for an hour a day to combat the “deadly” risk of modern working life, a major study has found.

Sitting for at least eight hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60 per cent, the study of more than one million adults published in The Lancet found, with sedentary lifestyles now posing as great a threat to public health as smoking and causing more deaths than obesity.

Workers who spend several hours each day at their desk should change their routine to include a five-minute break every hour, as well as take exercise at lunchtimes and evenings, the study recommended.

An hour of brisk walking or cycling spread over a day was enough to combat the dangers of eight hours sitting in the office, the researchers said.

Current public health advice recommends just half this level of activity – yet almost half of women and one third of men fail to achieve even this.

Prof Ulf Ekelund, the lead scientist, from Cambridge University and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, said: “We found that at least one hour of physical activity per day, for example brisk walking or cycling, eliminates the association between sitting time and death.”

He added: “You don’t need to do sport, you don’t need to go to the gym, it’s OK doing some brisk walking maybe in the morning, during your lunchtime, after dinner in the evening. You can split it up over the day but you need to do at least one hour.”

Researchers said the typical modern routine of spending a day in front of a computer, followed by an evening slumped in front of the television was proving fatal.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/working-in-the-office-is-as-bad-as-smoking-study-finds-20160727-gqfcjz.html


Five life-changing reasons to loose your belly fat

Five life-changing reasons to loose your belly fat

Belly fat gets a bad rap, but why? Well the fat around your belly is not  inert. Every fat cell is busy communicating with the rest of our body reinforcing a poor state of health that has implications on your future and what you die from. Belly fat causes low grade inflammation; it produces hormones that affect appetite and fat storage,  it impairs  energy metabolism  and belly fat is associated with insulin resistance, depressed mood and chronic stress to name a few. A little belly fat is probably ok, but how much belly fat is considered a health risk?

 

 

The Waist to hip ratio

The waist to hip ratio (WHR) has become a strong indicator of predicting a number of chronic debilitating illnesses including Type II diabetes, depression , chronic stress,  heart disease and increase your risk of many cancers. Evidence suggests the WHR is more reliable way to predict chronic disease like depression and type II diabetes. Another way to look at WHR is that
people with “apple-shaped” bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with “pear-shaped” bodies who carry more weight around the hips. For women this means they can be less concerned about their thighs and buttocks , but keeping the belly fat off is critical for a long healthy life.

The currently accepted guidelines for a healthy WHR and therefore better health and longevity is as follows: –

Men who have a WHR of more than 0.9  and Women who have a WHR ratio of more than 0.8 are at greater risk of chronic diseases and a shorter life.

 

So to recap there are many reasons to loose that excess belly fat, here’s five big one

  1. You are less likely to feel depressed, stressed or anxious.
  2. You are less likely to to develop Type II diabetes
  3. You reduce you risk of many cancers
  4. Your fertility is improved significantly
  5. You will live longer, have a greater vitality and have a healthier heart.

Green Tea Extract protects against Stroke

 

A study suggests the  powerful extract of green tea namely EGCG can protect against injury in cerebral infarction a cause of stroke.

 

Here’s the science abstract and it is heavy.  What is saying is that the EGCG can affects biochemistry pathways that cause a cerebral infarction, which is a type of ischemic stroke resulting from a blockage in the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. It can be atherothrombotic or embolic.

What we don’t know is what dose (the amount of the substance) and the dosage (the frequency of dose and over what timeframe)  could have make the significant difference in preventing stroke. However it is another positive report that EGCG can help prevent debilitating health problems. There are many benefits of green tea, but the best way to receive these benefits is to take a quality supplement containing EGCG. The alternative is  drinking 20-40 cups of green tea a day!

-Epigallocatechin Gallate Inhibits Asymmetric Dimethylarginine-Induced Injury in Human Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cells

(−)-Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the main polyphenol component of green tea (leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant). EGCG has been reported to protect human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs) against injury in several models. However, the exact mechanism is still unclear. In the current study we found that EGCG protected against asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA)-induced HBMEC injury, and inhibited ADMA-induced reactive oxygen species production and malondialdehyde expression. At the same time, we found that pretreatment with EGCG attenuated the upregulation of Bax and the downregulation of Bcl-2, thus confirming the cellular protective properties of EGCG against ADMA-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, we found that EGCG inhibited ADMA-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p-38, whose inhibitors relieved HBMEC injury. In conclusion, EGCG can protect against ADMA-induced HBMEC injury via the ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK pathways, which are involved in the underlying mechanisms of HBMEC injury in cerebral infarction.

Source: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11064-016-1898-9


Australia has a health crisis.

This country has a  crisis of chronic preventable disease and chronic unresolved stress. Here one in two people are overweight or obese. There are almost a million people with Type II diabetes and two million  estimated to be pre-diabetic  There are eight million Australians are predicted to be diagnosed with bowel cancer, a preventable condition. There are more than 353,800 Australians living with dementia. This number is expected to increase to 400,000 in less than five years. Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 900,000 by 2050. One million Australia have depression and another two million have a diagnosis of anxiety. Antibiotics are failing, some common bacteria has mutated and can now resist current medications. The top most prescribed 10 medications  in 2014 were for high cholesterol, hypertension,  pain and GERD (stomach acid reflux, heart burn , bloating).

The cost of medicine is increasing. “Expenditure on high cost drugs on the PBS is rising and, to date, it shows no sign of slowing. The growing incidence of diseases such as cancers and Alzheimer’s disease is likely to contribute to increased expenditure as new treatments become available.”  (http://www.aph.gov.au)

Most people in Australia work more than 40 hours a week often skipping a decent meal and  missing essential nutrients.  One and half million Australians don’t get a decent nights  sleep suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders.  We are subjected to repeated stressors at work and at home and we have little time to truly relax and switch off. We soothe ourselves with junk food, alcohol and recreational drugs.

Despite all the diets people still gain the weight they lost. We are nutritional deficient,  we consume on average 30 tea spoons of sugar a day hidden in diet foods and health snacks, and take-away food. It is estimated as little as  2% of Australians Eat Enough Fruit And Veggies, and even if we did the vegetables and fruit found in our supermarkets   lack the nutrients we need because the over-farmed soil lacks the required minerals. Many people don’t get sufficient exercise. We sit down on average 12 hours or more a day. Sitting down for this long  is now said to be more deadly than smoking.

So what about you? 

Are you getting sufficient sleep?

Do you feel fatigued and stressed?

Are you in pain?

Do you exercise enough?

Do you and your family know how to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy and prevent disease?

Do you know the side effects of your medications?

What are you long term health goals?

How long do you want to live?


IT’S ALL RELATIVE : How to understand cancer risk

Comment

This is a great article to remind us what risk really means when we talk about the probability of getting cancer.

Ian Olver, University of South Australia

Absolute risk is the risk of developing a cancer over a certain period of time.

Relative risk is the risk one group of people has of developing a cancer compared to the risk of another group.

 

The Conversation’s cancer map shows that the risk of bowel cancer is 10% higher for men and women who have one standard alcoholic drink every day, than for those who don’t drink any alcohol.

This is known as “relative risk” and does not mean you have a 10% chance of getting bowel cancer if you drink one drink per day.

As the map says, it means your risk of bowel cancer is 10% higher than the risk of someone who doesn’t drink any alcohol.

This 10% matters not only in relation to someone else, but also in relation to the absolute risk of getting the particular cancer in the first place. If the absolute risk is small, then a 10% increase still doesn’t make your chances of getting cancer very high.

For instance, a man living in Australia has an absolute risk of 10% of developing bowel cancer over his lifetime. If he drinks one beer every day and his risk of bowel cancer increases by 10%, then it only goes up to 11% overall – so not much higher than it was in the first place.

Absolute Risk

The absolute risk of cancer is the chance of developing a certain cancer over a specified period of time, say in one year or in five years.

That chance will change depending on different factors. The most important is a person’s age. Since most cancers are more common in older age groups, your absolute risk of cancer will be higher as you get older.

One measure of absolute risk is the lifetime risk, which is the absolute risk of a certain cancer over the period of someone’s life.

The graph below shows the risk for men and women who live in Australia getting certain cancers before the age of 85.

Women who have genetic changes in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have around a 60% absolute lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. This absolute risk is high.

But this risk is over a whole lifetime, so a woman with altered BRCA genes who ends up developing breast cancer may not do so until she is in her 70s or 80s.

Relative risk

 

Relative risk compares the risk of cancer in one group of people to that in another group.

The chance of a group with a common risk factor (such as obesity) developing cancer can be compared to the chance of another group of people with a healthy weight. This relative risk ratio will remain constant across the world. But absolute risk will vary depending on how common a cancer is in a particular region.

Relative risk may sometimes be quite high and lead people to believe the absolute risk of developing disease is higher than it actually is.

For instance, a woman from a Western country has a 2 in 100 chance (2% absolute lifetime risk) of developing cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus) by the age of 85.

If the woman is obese, her risk of endometrial cancer is twice that of a woman of ideal weight. That is, a relative risk of 2 or 100% greater chance of developing endometrial cancer than a woman who is not obese.

This 100% figure may sound like obese women have a very high risk of endometrial cancer. But, in fact, the risk is still quite low, since doubling the 2% population risk still only makes the absolute risk of endometrial cancer in obese women around 4%. This is still a low probability of cancer.

Be careful not to confuse relative risk with absolute risk and remember the time-frames over which absolute risk can apply

It’s all relative: how to understand cancer risk