Posts tagged ‘risk factors’

According to an issue of the European Journal of Cancer, researchers believe that there is an increase in the number of cancer patients over the last few years. From 2.1 million such cases in 2002, the number rose considerably to 2.8 million in 2008. Dr. José M. Martin-Moreno of the University of Valencia, Spain deems that research on cancer has  experienced setbacks thanks to the economic recession in the recent years. There has been a steady reduction in donations coming from public organizations, while pharmaceutical companies have curtailed on research projects related to cancer. Further, researchers feel that safety measures against exposure to carcinogens will probably be reduced. This will happen especially in small companies as well as developing countries.

Dr. José M. Martin-Moreno states that cancer can be prevented by way of our lifestyle. The life we lead, our habits, environment, occupation and genetics are important factors for preventing this deadly illness. Four risk factors that lead to cancer have categorically been pointed out. They are: alcohol, smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Dr. Esther de Vries and his colleagues presented a paper which stated that an increase in weight and lack of physical activity have an impact on colon cancer.

Colon cancer is believed to be the second most common form of cancer, especially in Europe. According to Dr. Renehan, men should take steps to reduce weight, while women should involve themselves in physical activity to prevent colon cancer.

Professor Michael Baumann, President of ECCO is hopeful that after understanding the issue at hand, policy makers will take measures to effectively prevent cancer instead of worrying about cutting costs on a short-term basis.

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.

The journal of Cancer Prevention Research published news pertaining to the identification of a new kind of risk factor for breast cancer. An Australian research team comprising of research associates from the Universities of Melbourne and Queensland along with a few others from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre have succeeded in unearthing this risk factor.

The new risk is actually based on a particular modification to the BRCA1 gene which is known for its role in the development of breast and ovarian cancers. The mutation of the BRCA1 gene in women puts them at a risk for developing the said cancers.

DNA methylation is the modification noticed by the researchers who conducted the study. This modification is in fact, an epimutation and succeeds in canceling the protective functions that the BRCA1 gene normally has against breast cancers. This alteration cannot be strictly termed as a mutation as it does not affect the genetic sequence, inactivating the normal function of the gene instead.

The researchers conducted the study on several women below 40 years of age who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The BRCA1 gene mutation had not been identified in these women.  The epimutation was discovered in the blood of all those women who developed breast cancer that was similar to those with the BRCA1 gene mutations. However, the scientists inferred that such epimutations were not inherited unlike the BRCA1 gene mutations which mean that the relatives and family of the affected woman are not at risk.

The inhibiting factor of the BRCA1 gene in about 3-4% women remain unknown putting them at an increased risk for developing breast cancers. The discovery of the BRCA1 gene modification can actually help to uncover more details about the risk factors associated with breast and ovarian cancers said Professor Melissa Southey attached to the University of Melbourne and senior author of the study.

Alexander Dobrovic, the lead investigator of the study associated with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre noted that the presence of the epimutation in the peripheral blood indicates that it is present in many other tissues of the body.

While the study remains significant for understanding the breast cancer mechanism, a number of factors remain to be discovered especially questions that pertain to decreasing the risk with the aid of dietary as well as medicinal intervention.


Source: Public Release by University of Melbourne on 10th November 2010.