Cancer is awful and destroys far too many lives, but what if we can help people survive by augmenting their medicine with better diets? New research is revealing that a diverse diet could help people essentially starve cancer. To be very clear: a diet change will not defeat cancer. The key takeaway here is that some medication can be more effective if matched with a diet that promotes healthy cells in your body which also stymies the development of cancer cells. We still have a long way to go when it comes to fighting cancer, but new developments every year help us on this healthy journey.
Seventy percent of T cells — the body’s most potent cancer-fighting immune cell — live along the gastrointestinal tract, making them highly sensitive to what you eat and what medicines you take. Over the last five years, scientists have started to understand how the gut microbiome influences T cells and the immune system, and how that can affect health and disease.
The general consensus seems to be that more diversity in gut bacteria is better, and, many of the studies looking at what the gut of a cancer treatment responder looks like differ in terms of which types of bacteria are present, driving home that no single strain is overly important. The one consistent finding is that people with more diversity in their gut bacteria seem to have better responses to immunotherapy.
A new study has concluded that when we eat our supper is an important factor in reducing risk of certain cancers. The researchers monitored people’s eating times and noticed that prostate and breast cancer risk was connected to later dinners. Your final meal of the day should ideally be before 9pm and two hours before you go to sleep. What’s really neat about this research is that doctors may start considering cancer treatment via diet in addition to modern therapies.
“Our study concludes that adherence to diurnal eating patterns is associated with a lower risk of cancer,” explained ISGlobal researcher Manolis Kogevinas, lead author of the study. The findings “highlight the importance of assessing circadian rhythms in studies on diet and cancer”, he added.
If the findings are confirmed, Kogevinas noted, “they will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations, which currently do not take meal timing into account”. He added: “The impact could be especially important in cultures such as those of southern Europe, where people have supper late.”
We all know that encouraging bicycles as daily transportation is good for cities, economies, and traffic flow. Cycling is really good for you too and the evidence that you should bike more is more prevalent than ever. The most recent contribution to why riding a bike to work is good for you comes from Glasgow. Researchers there found that over the course of five years people who biked regularly had lower instances of cancer and heart disease!
But, during the course of the study, regular cycling cut the risk of death from any cause by 41%, the incidence of cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%.
The cyclists clocked an average of 30 miles per week, but the further they cycled the greater the health boon.
Walking cut the odds of developing heart disease but the benefit was mostly for people walking more than six miles per week.
“This is really clear evidence that people who commute in an active way, particularly by cycling, were at lower risk,” Dr Jason Gill, from the University of Glasgow, told the BBC News website.
Science is awesome! Over the last few decades survival rates of leukemia have increased thanks to research into how cancer functions and how to stop it. Cancer is incredibly hard to control and taking a moment to reflect on the success we’ve had is worth it. Thanks to ongoing research we’ve now got survival rates as high as 90% in some parts of the world. Now that we know how to hold back leukemia we can focus on improving access to proper care around the world.
“The study shows that the probability that children survive at least five years after diagnosis has increased in most countries for the two most common types of childhood leukemia,” said lead author Dr. Audrey Bonaventure, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, U.K.
“In 1960, the survival was zero. There was no treatment. Children lived for a month or two after diagnosis and died,” Grundy told CBC News. “In all of medicine, I think this is one of the top success stories: in just 50 years, to go from zero to 90 per cent survival.”
This month Cancer Research UK released a game that helped scientists find a cure for cancer. It takes the obscure data that needs to be analyzed and translates that into a fun little game which can be played on Android or Apple devices. The aggregate data of players help scientists understand what’s going on in the body when someone is impacted by cancer.
The game’s ingenuity lies in its simplicity. Racking up the combined data crunching power of what we hope will be thousands of casual gamers will help our scientists spot the subtle patterns and peaks and troughs in the data, which correspond to DNA faults.
The power of Element Alpha is of course completely fictional, but the power of the data it represents could be exceptional. Our scientists will be trawling through the results as they come in and looking for crucial clues in the quest for new cancer treatments.
So what are you waiting for? Start collecting mysterious Element Alpha to help us solve the mystery of cancer sooner.