Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Data from 1.2 million females reviewed

Daily glass of wine or booze can dramatically raise women's risk of breast cancer, review shows

Having just one glass of wine or another alcoholic drink a day is likely to boost a woman's risk of breast cancer.

That's what a new massive review indicates, according to a story by Laurie McGinley in today's editions of The Washington Post.

The increased risk is considered significant.

Statistically, McGinley's piece says, the difference is "5 percent for pre-menopausal women and 9 percent for post-menopausal women."

Reducing risk is also possible, the story also reports, by vigorous exercise such as running and bicycling.

That information translates, according to the study, into "pre-menopausal women who were the most active [having] a 17 percent lower risk of developing malignancies compared to the least active women, while post-menopausal women had a 10 percent decreased risk."

Why the added or diminished risks?

McGinley writes that "alcohol increases estrogen, which is linked to increased breast-cancer risk, while physical activity reduces it."

The review — done by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund — "evaluated research in 119 studies encompassing data on 12 million women from around the world."

AICR estimated that 1 in 3 cases of breast cancer could be prevented if women didn't drink alcohol, were physically active and maintained a healthy weight.

Anne McTiernan
The Post article cites Anne McTiernan, a cancer-prevention researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and one of the report's lead authors, to the effect that the review "suggests there is no level of alcohol use that is completely safe in terms of breast cancer. If a woman is drinking, it would be better if she kept it to a lower amount."

The review showed, too, that women who are overweight or obese run a higher risk of post-menopausal disease in general. Losing just 10 percent of their weight apparently can reduce blood estrogen and inflammation.

But even a healthy lifestyle is no guarantee.

The Post paraphrased the researcher as saying it's more like wearing a safety belt — with many women doing everything they can to reduce their risks but still get diagnosed with breast cancer.

"That's unfortunate, but that's what happens," the newspaper quoted McTiernan as saying.

Many more risks of breast cancer are outlined in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

Friday, May 12, 2017

'Existential dread' matches dread about disease

Cancer patients, survivors fear GOP dismantling Obamacare, return to 'medical dark ages'

Both cancer patients and survivors are having new fears — anxieties that equates to the trepidation they had when first diagnosed with the disease.

According to a recent story by Laurie McKinley in The Washington Post, what they're afraid of is the Republican obsession to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

The McKinley piece says those patients and survivors "are among the most vocal of groups raising alarms about the GOP's repeal effort. They are calling congressional offices and showing up at their representatives' town hall meetings with angst-filled stories about a pre-ACA world in which they couldn't get individual health plans because of their medical histories."

More than 15 million people in the United States are patients or survivors, the story adds, "with millions more affected as family members."  

McKinley writes that "many people described a kind of existential dread that matches their fear of cancer," still the second-leading cause of death in this country.

Dr. J. Leonard Lichetenfeld
In effect, they fear a return to the "medical dark ages" where their disease is concerned.

"Some worry," the story continues, "that the law's likely dismantling may put the latest oncology treatments, which can run $10,000 a month, out of reach. Others point to research showing that insurance status affects cancer patients' survival."

The piece also quotes Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, as telling a recent House committee hearing, "Cancer patients need to know that they have insurance."

Fear, and how to overcome it, is a major topic of "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

TV star has 'no idea how to react' to good news

Remission! Two-year battle with breast cancer being won by actress Shannen Doherty

Actress Shannen Doherty's breast cancer apparently has gone into remission.

After a two-year public battle with the disease.

According to an article by Umberto Gonzales in The Wrap over the weekend, Doherty wrote on Instagram that she has "no idea how to react," and added that "for now, I'm going to just breathe."

Shannen Doherty
But the "Beverly Hills, 90210" television star is realistic.

She noted that "as every single one of my fellow cancer family knows, the next five years is crucial. Recurrences happen all the time."

Meanwhile, she said, "Decisions. Reconstruction, which is several surgeries. Decision on taking a pill for the next five years comes with its own set of problems and side effects."

Her over-all feeling, however, was that "I am blessed."

Her battle became public when, according to Gonzales, "she sued her former management firm after her health insurances lapsed," which led to a delay in having her breast cancer diagnosed.

The star has undergone chemotherapy and a mastectomy.

Details about the disease, reconstruction, side effects and follow-up treatments can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.