What I’m Reading: Research Suggests Ways To Reduce Risk of Developing Cancer

Is there anything we can do to reduce our risk of developing cancer?  These two recent articles explain what the latest research is telling us.

The 2000 Year-Old Wonder Drug (New York Times)

In this op-ed piece, Dr. David Agus, professor of medicine at University of Southern California and the author of The End of Illness asserts that “the data are screaming out to us;”

“Aspirin, one of the oldest remedies on the planet, helps prevent heart disease through what is likely to be a variety of mechanisms, including keeping blood clots from forming. And experts believe it helps prevent cancer, in part, by dampening an immune response called inflammation.”

He cited several studies published just in the last two years:  one showed that the risk of dying from cancer was 37 percent lower among those taking aspirin for at least five years. In a subsection of the study group, three years of daily aspirin use reduced the risk of developing cancer by almost 25 percent when compared with the aspirin-free control group.

Dr. Agus called for a more concerted effort from the medical community — doctors, pharmacists and insurance companies  – to proactively spread the word about the many benefits of this disease-prevention drug.

(In 2009, The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women ages 55 to 79 take a low-dose aspirin pill daily, except for those who are already at higher risk for GI bleeding.)

Cancer Interrupted: Green Tea (click link for video presentation)

Dr. Michael Greger, Nutritionfacts.org

research shows that Green tea may suppress cancer cell formation

More than 85 percent of breast cancers are attributable to long-term exposure to environmental carcinogens, such as those in the diet. In this three minute video, Dr. Michael Greger, of Nutritionfacts.org, explains the findings of a “landmark” study that used PhIP, a chemical carcinogen found in high-temperature cooked meats — typically cooked beef, pork, chicken and fish products — to turn normal human breast cells into cancer cells.

Then, researchers tested various interventions to stop this process of cancer formation. It was found that Green Tea phytonutrients were effective in suppressing PhiP-induced cellular cancer and tumor progression.

A full transcript of his presentation accompanies the video.

If this information persuades you to eat a vegetarian diet, but you don’t know how to begin, check out the website for  The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). They offer a free Vegetarian Starter Kit that includes information, guidelines and recipes.