Posts tagged ‘colon cancer’

Researchers from UC Davis Cancer Center have found out that colon cancer screening highly depends on a person’s geography, race and ethnicity. Hitherto, it had been known that racial and ethnic differences do have a role to play in the lower colorectal screening. Difference in culture and socio-economic status had played a role in that.

But now it has been found that these screenings are also affected by geographical boundaries. Medical oncologist Thomas Semrad and his team members demonstrate that screening for the whites hardly vary despite differences in geographical location but when it comes to non-whites, there is a marked difference.

The research team collected some data from various states and regions including Atlanta, Ga.; rural Georgia; San Francisco-Oakland; San Jose-Monterey; Los Angeles County; Seattle-Puget Sound, Wash.; Detroit, Mich.; Connecticut; Hawaii; Iowa; and New Mexico.

The findings showed that whites had a higher likelihood of being up to-date on screening than other races on any place. Hawaii was an exception though since the Asia-Pacific islanders had a higher screening there.

This may be due to the influence that the Japanese culture has had in Hawaii. The screening rates were lowest in the African Americans as per the study. Also, no difference was registered in the screening rates among the Hispanics of different regions.

It is believed that less access to basic care and gastrointestinal specialists play a vital role in such variations. However, more work needs to be done to find out what are the determinants for minorities in terms of getting screened.


Exercise has always been regarded beneficial for health and there’s no contradictory argument for that. But researchers at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis have associated exercise with colon cancer.

They have conducted a study which shows that consistent exercise lowers the risk of death by colon cancer. Researchers from the Washington University collaborated with those from American Cancer Society and carefully studied data available from the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS II) to examine if physical activity was anyhow linked with colon cancer.

The researchers examined the data of more than 150,000 men and women and studied their level of physical activities between the year 1982 and 1997. These were compared with colon cancer diagnoses between 1998 and 2005 and with colon cancer deaths between 1998 and 2006. The study revealed that those who were in the habit of regular exercise for at least 10 years reported lower risk of colon cancer death.

Kathleen Y. Wolin, ScD cites that it’s never too late to start exercising and the study clearly hints at the beneficial aspect of physical activity. Hence, the public need to thoroughly absorb this message for their better well being.

Besides preventing colon cancer death, exercise also curtails the chances of getting afflicted by cardiac diseases, diabetes and other forms of cancer. Even a brisk 30-minute walk will do the body and mind a great deal of good and shall be helpful for the health in the long run.


A recent research study conducted by the Michigan State University uncovered the perils of consuming fish oil in high quantities leading credence to the age old adage of ‘too much of a good thing can be bad’.  Mice have been found to develop colitis as well as colon cancer on being given high doses of fish oil. Rosie Schwartz, a dietician by profession says that the omega-3 fatty acids present in the fish oil may prove to be hazardous when taken in large quantities. They are extremely beneficial to the health if consumed in moderation, though, she added.

People usually think that a good thing can be consumed without limit but the reality is just the opposite. While omega-3 does have anti-inflammatory qualities, it is the actual dosage that remains vital. Schwartz went on to add that while the average man does need an increased amount of omega-3 in their daily diet, it has been established conclusively that the immune system does get suppressed due to a high dose of the same beneficial oil leading to an aggravation of the onco cells which may already be present within the colon.

Jenifer Fenton, one of the lead researchers disclosed that the mice in the test group were found to develop deadly last stages of colon cancer on given high doses of fish oil. The most important fact was that the tumors hardly took more than a period of four weeks to develop with the enhancement of inflammation.

Schwartz further revealed that fish oil in high doses also tend to act as a thinner of blood causing various complications in combination with certain medications.  Unrestricted use of fish oil or omega-3 supplements were also a cause for concern, she emphasized. They are not food and are required to be taken in limited quantities in order to prove beneficial, she stated.


The cancer drug, Avastin, by Roche Holding AG failed yet again to prove its efficacy as a medicine that ensures a disease free existence after surgery in cases of early colon cancer. The drug had failed in a previous study as well.

Although Avastin has been one of the top selling drugs in the US, authorities are still in the process of reviewing its effects on patients suffering from breast cancer. The FDA has been advised by several medical bodies to revoke its approval on the drug.

The FDA will now have to decide on using Avastin for treating breast cancer in combination with different types of chemotherapies. Avastin’s label still indicates that it can be used in instances of metastatic breast cancer and will continue to remain so until the FDA gives its decision by December 17, this year.

The international study AVANT, conducted by Roche, revealed that a year long treatment with Avastin, along with standard chemotherapy does not necessarily reduce the risk of a relapse, particularly in cases of early colon cancers. The drug has failed to be effective in the late stages of colon cancer as well. A statement issued by Basel, Switzerland-based Roche, says that the preliminary data reveals chemotherapy alone to be enough in ensuring a disease free survival. It does not need to be combined with Avastin.

The researchers from the group are now engaged in studying the results from this study as well as an earlier one (C-08) in order to arrive at a conclusion about the steps of an ongoing post surgery treatment by using Avastin as an adjuvant.


A special issue of the European Journal of Cancer commented on the increased incidence of cancer despite the mortality rate from cancer being reduced considerably. The figures show an increase from 2.1 million cases in 2002 to a staggering 2.8 million in 2008. The economic recession will also affect the amount of money going into cancer research, feels Dr. José M. Martin-Moreno and his colleagues of the University of Valencia, Spain. The donations from public organizations have gone down, along with substantial cut backs in cancer research projects by various pharmaceutical companies.

The researchers also point to the fact that the safety guards against exposure to deadly carcinogens are likely to be reduced as well, especially for those who work in smaller companies and in developing countries. A Korean study, conducted back in the 90s, hints that incurring a recurring expenditure for health safeguards are not considered to be mandatory, especially when it can help to avoid bankruptcy. The effect thus gets compounded in industries where the contamination by carcinogens tends to be high, like the mining industry.

Dr. Martin-Moreno further elaborates that the prevention of cancer is also dependent on a number of other factors. Life style habits, occupation, environment, and genetics, all play a part in proper prevention of cancer. Being exposed to infections as well as access to the preventive measures are also influencing factors.

The editors of the publication go on to emphasize the importance of four of the most important risk factors; smoking, alcohol, obesity, and an inactive life, physically.  A paper by Dr. Esther de Vries and fellow researchers also describes the impact that weight gain and physical inactivity have on colon cancer. The data was retrieved from the cancer registries of seven European countries, namely, The Netherlands, Spain, Latvia, Czech Republic, UK, France, and Denmark.

Colon cancer is the second most common incidence of cancer in Europe, as well as the second most common cause of cancer related deaths. Dr. Renehan states that adopting weight reduction measures would prove to be more effective for men while increased levels of physical activity works better for women in preventing colon cancer.

The ECCO President, Professor Michael Baumann, hopes that this special issue will help the policy makers to reflect on the dangers of the rising incidence of cancer and take effective preventive measures, instead of being concerned with short term cost cutting strategies.

Source: European Journal of Cancer, volume 46, issue 14 (September 2010), “Implementing Cancer Prevention in Europe”.

Kim J, Paek D. Safety and health in small-scale enterprises and bankruptcy during economic depression in Korea. J Occupational Health 2000; 42(5): 270-5.

A majority of women who have been diagnosed with colon cancer after menopause are likely to die if they do not maintain a healthy body weight before being diagnosed with carcinoma. These findings from a study were reported in the current issue (September) of the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The journal is published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

The researchers discovered that women who did not enjoy good health and were either obese or underweight faced an increased risk of death. The mortality rate also went up for women who had a history of abdominal obesity before being diagnosed with colon cancer.

According to Anna E. Prizment, a post doctoral fellow attached to the epidemiology and community health unit of the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center, abdominal obesity can well be an indicator of the rate of mortality from colon cancer.  A healthy body weight is crucial for women who have already had their menopause, she added. It might also help in the treatment of colonic cancer and help the patient to evade death in the eventuality of being diagnosed with cancer later in life. She also stated that it was not clear whether losing weight after the diagnosis actually helped. It might just be a case of ‘too little too late’ by then. It is, therefore, important to keep a check on the body weight throughout one’s lifetime.

Prizment, along with her colleagues, retrieved the data of 1,096 patients from Iowa Women’s Health Study. The study observed 289 of them dying due to colon cancer out of the 493 who eventually died. The patients had been observed over a period of 20 years.  The study results further elaborated on the fact that the mortality rate for obese woman with BMI levels exceeding 30 kg/mg2  was increased by  45% whereas it was found to be over 89% in case of underweight women with BMI levels below 18 kg/mg2.

The study results also hinted at increased hormonal levels leading to a more aggressive form of cancer in obese women particularly those with abdominal obesity. They are also considered to have a higher risk of developing colon cancer.

Prizment has encouraged further studies on the effect of obesity particularly abdominal obesity on the prognosis of colon cancer after the diagnosis.

Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (September Issue)