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The Effects of Stress Include Faster Cancer Growth and Metastasis

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Whether sitting in heavy traffic or dealing with long-term financial woes, people are exposed to stress on a regular basis. The causes of stress are many, but all stress falls into one of two categories. The short-lived type of stress we might feel in traffic is known as acute stress, and this type usually wanes when the situation changes. The type of stress we feel when dealing with frequent financial trouble is known as chronic stress because it lasts for weeks, months, even years and has no clear end in sight. While acute stress presents little cause for concern, chronic stress can damage the health in many ways including encouraging the growth and spread of cancer.

A few simple practices can help counter the harmful effects of stress on health.

Research into the Effects of Stress on Cancer Growth and Metastasis

Isolation or confinement is a condition that creates stress in mice.  Research on mice with cancerous tumors found that tumors were more likely to metastasize (spread) when mice were isolated.  Another study showed that tumors transplanted into the mammary pads of mice metastasized much more quickly if mice were under constant stress than if mice were not under stress.  While scientists continue to research whether stress causes cancer directly, there's no doubt that it helps certain types of cancer grow and spread.  

How Stress Encourages the Growth and Spread of Cancer

Lorenzo Cohen, a professor of General Oncology and Behavioral Science explains that stress makes the body "more hospitable to cancer."  The release of hormones triggered by chronic stress hinders anoikis, a process in the body that destroys diseased cells and keeps them from spreading.  There is also some evidence to suggest that stress triggers the release of growth hormones that can boost blood supply to cancerous tumors.

Related:  Try Controlled Breathing for Difficulty Relaxing

While it is important for all people to try to counteract the effects of stress, it is essential for people with cancer.  Here are a few ways to keep stress at bay:

Try therapeutic strategies. Talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help reduce stress by discovering its sources and offering management tools for accompanying worry and anxiety.

Practice activities that encourage mindfulness.  Whether you enjoy painting or yoga, activities that keep the mind focused on something other than stress can provide temporary relief.

Get plenty of sleep.  A good night's sleep helps improve mood, memory and the ability to think clearly.  Proper sleep also helps boost the immune system, and a healthy body is the best defense against stress.

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Researchers Reveal Melanoma Is More Deadly For Pregnant Women

by IVL Products

Melanoma is a cancer that affects certain types of skin cells.  While many experts target outdoor enthusiasts when it comes to taking precautions against this type of cancer, a recent study shows vulnerability in a new group:  pregnant women. The study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology revealed some shocking results when it came to pregnant women and skin cancer, specifically melanoma.

Pregnant or recently pregnant women experience higher rates for death from melanoma than women who are not pregnant.

Researchers studied 462 women with melanoma who were 49 years of age or younger.  Within the larger group were 41 women who had been diagnosed with the skin cancer while pregnant or within one year of giving birth.  

Researchers found that women diagnosed with melanoma while pregnant or recently pregnant were five times more likely to die from it than women with melanoma who were not pregnant.  Melanoma diagnosed in pregnant or recently pregnant woman was nearly seven times more likely to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body), and women in this group were nearly ten times more likely to experience a recurrence of the cancer within 7 ½ years.

Related:  Five Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

The study's results do not indicate that pregnant or recently pregnant women are more likely to develop melanoma, yet they do show melanoma is more aggressive in this group of women.  While they have not determined a cause for the increased virulence, the researchers do venture a few possibilities.  It may be related to a diminished immune system that helps prevent rejection of the fetus or it could be caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy like a rise in estrogen levels.

Conclusion

Research shows that when it comes to skin cancer, women from 20 to 40 years of age are experiencing rising rates.  Females in this age group who have a history of heavy sun exposure, family members with skin cancer, or a large number of moles should examine their skin on a regular basis and contact a dermatologist with any concerns.  Women with high risks for skin cancer may also want to consult with a dermatologist before planning a family.

In addition to regular self-examination, most experts recommend the following tips for preventing melanoma and other types of skin cancer:

  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, specifically 10 am to 4 pm
  • Avoid tanning lamps or beds
  • Apply a broad-spectrum, natural sunscreen if expecting to be in the sun longer than 15 minutes
  • Wear protecting clothing
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Metastatic Breast Cancer: Unlocking the Mysteries

by Health News

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women (behind skin cancer). Metastatic breast cancer, or stage 4 cancer, is diagnosed when the cancer has spread from the original site it was detected, to the brain, liver, bones or lungs.  Breast cancer that remains localized to the breast is less of a threat than when it metastasizes, or spreads to other areas of the body.  Recent discoveries have unlocked some of the mysteries surrounding metastatic breast cancer that could lead to breakthroughs in treatment and increase survival rates for those with a stage IV diagnosis.

Unlocking the Metastatic Breast Cancer Mystery

Breast Cancer Facts and Figures

Though breast cancer rates declined in the early 2000’s, it is still one of the most deadly forms of cancer afflicting women (men, too, though rarely) and more than 40,000 women die from it each year.

Breast cancer is more prevalent among African-American women and they are more likely to die from it than Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian or Native American women.  Any woman with a first degree relative who was diagnosed with the disease has double the risk of developing it and 5-10% of breast cancers are linked to mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene.  Interestingly though, 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

Part of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Mystery Solved

A new study led by a group of international researchers revealed that breast cancer cells multiply and spread via the cancer’s stem cells, which exist in two states.  Each state plays an important role in metastasis, or spreading to other parts of the body.

According to the researchers’ findings the stem cells in the EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) state on the outer layer of the tumor appear to be dormant but can penetrate the bloodstream and travel to the brain, lungs, bones or liver. Once in the new body part these cancer stem cells transition into the MET (mesenchymal-epithelial transition) state and begin to replicate the tumor in the breast, which in turn also metastasize in another part of the body.

Despite the complexity of this process, and that even one glitch in it completely disrupts the stem cells function and halts the spread of the tumor, these stem cells perform like clockwork, resulting in thousands of deaths per year.

Related:  Video Blog: Angelina Jolie: Breast Cancer BRCA Gene Test

A Promising First Step Toward A Cure

This research is a promising first step toward understanding how stage I becomes the most deadly, stage IV breast cancer.  The next step is to design tests that can track a tumor’s journey from the breast to other parts of the body and how to disrupt the stem cells and halt the spread of the disease. As of now, current tests don’t screen for EMT cells.

The need to unravel more of the mysteries of metastatic breast cancer is urgent to help reduce the number of deaths each year. The efforts to establish a national data base with tumor and blood samples, medical records of those with stage 4 cancers, and a record of those with a family history of the disease could greatly advance the current research and yield results sooner for those battling metastatic breast cancer.

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Cranberries for Cancer

by IVL Products

When you think of antioxidants, you should be thinking of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables that are not only pleasing to the eye, but to the palate as well. Along with providing vitamins and fiber, fruits and vegetables are important for their role in absorbing free radicals.

Cranberries are delicious and add color to any dish or dessert, yet research shows that cranberries add nutrients to our diet that helps detour illness and disease.

Free radicals are highly reactive forms of oxygen that are missing an electron. When they come into contact with normal molecules, they try to steal an electron, damaging the healthy cell and its DNA. In fact, some estimates show that every cell in your body takes 10,000 oxidative hits to its DNA daily! Antioxidants work to counteract the damage caused by free radicals.

This is likely why antioxidants are effective in helping preventing against cancer. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage, which in turns prevents cellular damage. This cellular damage, over time, can damage the DNA.

According to a study published in AACN Clinical Issues in 2002, when the damage is extensive and irreversible, it may lead to cancer. The hypothesis is that since antioxidants prevent free radical damage, they can decrease oxidative stress, damage to the DNA, and therefore help prevent cancer.

And when it comes to particular antioxidant-rich, cancer-fighting foods, the humble cranberry is one of the most powerful.

One researcher from the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth set out to discover exactly what it was in this curious little berry that made it such a cancer-fighting powerhouse. After reviewing nearly 40 different studies on cranberries and cancer, he found that there are three main phytochemicals that seem to be responsible for cranberry’s anti-cancer power:

  • Proanthocyanidins (powerful antioxidants),
  • Anthocyanins (anti-cancer; anti-inflammatory), and
  • Ursolic acid (anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative).

In vitro studies have shown that proanthocyanidins (PAC) have blocked the growth of cancer in human lung cells, colon cells, and leukemia cells. Similar in vitro studies have found that PACs induce cell death, particular breast cancer, colon cancer, oral cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and esophageal cancer cells.

The anthocyanins found in cranberries appear to reduce inflammation, which is commonly associated with cancer risk. Additionally, these anthocyanins have been shown to block an enzyme (ornithine decarboxylase), which is known to promote cancer growth. Plus, anthocyanins limit angiogenesis, or the growth of new blood vessels. This is important because cancer needs this growth to spread.

Related:  Cranberries for Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

But the real hero in cranberries just may be ursolic acid. This little-known nutrient has been shown to be cytotoxic toward cancer cells. In fact, an in vitro study found that PACs and ursolic acid from cranberries brought on cell death in colon cancer cells. But, more promisingly, is that an in vivo study (in an animal) found that ursolic acid decreased the size, weight, and eventually presence of breast cancer cells in mice.

Clearly cranberries are proof that great things really do come in small packages.

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Where do Brain Tumors Come From?

by IVL Products

The idea of a brain tumor strikes fear into the hearts of most people.  However, learning more about how tumors in the brain develop and where they come from can help dispel some of the anxiety generated by this terrifying topic.  Some facts may be surprising, and a little knowledge helps prepare people in the event of a brain tumor diagnosis for themselves or a loved one. 

Brain tumors can start in the brain or start in another area of the body and spread to the brain.

A brain tumor is a growth or mass of abnormal cells in the brain or central nervous system that can affect ordinary brain function.  There are over 120 kinds of these tumors, and they form in different areas and different ways for everyone.

Tumors that originate in brain cells are called primary brain tumors. While these tumors can spread to other areas of the brain or to the spine, they rarely spread (or metastasize) to additional organs.  Primary brain tumors can be either benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancerous. They grow slowly, have well-defined borders, and do not invade other tissue.  Malignant tumors, on the other hand, are cancerous and they do not have well-defined borders.  Because they grow quickly and invade surrounding tissue, malignant tumors have the potential to endanger lives.

Starting in another part of the body and metastasizing to the brain, secondary brain tumors account for the majority of brain cancers and are always malignant. Cancers of the breast, kidney, lung, or skin are all types that can spread to the brain.

Related:  What's Causing Your Memory Loss?

Brain Tumor Symptoms and Diagnosis

Certain people exhibit no symptoms at all when a brain tumor is discovered. Others have symptoms that vary according to the type of tumor and its location.  Some symptoms associated with brain tumors include:

  • Difficulty with speech and comprehension
  • Frequent headaches
  • Impaired coordination
  • Personality changes
  • Seizures
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Vision problems
People exhibiting any of the symptoms above should consult with a medical professional.  Make sure to discuss all symptoms fully for the most accurate diagnosis.  As part of their diagnostic process, doctors often order a brain scan in the form of an MRI.  A biopsy may be necessary and other medical professionals may be brought in to help establish a diagnosis. 
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High Fiber Diet in Youth Linked to Breast Cancer Prevention

by IVL Products

Getting teens to eat a healthy diet is a struggle for most parents. With the ease of fast food and the temptation of sweets and chips in every vending machine, teen diets are often nutrient-poor.  Well, stay vigilant; especially those of you with teen daughters because a recent study showed women who ate high fiber diets in their teens and twenties had a significantly reduced rate of breast cancer later in life.

Breast Cancer Prevention Starts Early

The study that links a high fiber diet as a teen to a reduced risk of breast cancer as an adult was first published in the journal Pediatrics. The 20-year study of the diets of over 90,000 women showed those who consumed the highest quality fiber (i.e. whole grains, fruits and vegetables) had a 19% lower risk of developing breast cancer. Even more importantly, those women who ate more fiber as a teen had a reduced risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer.  The earlier a woman develops breast cancer the more aggressive it tends to be and the mortality rate is higher.

Can you prevent breast cancer by consuming high fiber?

The Fiber Effect

Study researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded that the fiber effect was due to the fact that dietary fiber cuts down on circulating estrogen levels. Breast cancer is a hormone-driven cancer that thrives on estrogen, so the women who ate a high fiber diet as teens and into their 20s most likely were able to prevent breast cancer from forming because they had lower levels of circulating estrogen over a very long period of their life. 

Fiber also improves insulin sensitivity because it reduces insulin-like growth factors, lowering one’s risk of diabetes, too. Diabetic women have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer.

It’s long been known that fiber helps keep the pounds from piling on and obesity is directly linked to increasing a woman’s risk of breast cancer, too.

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Finally, it’s well known within the medical community that carcinogens ingested during childhood and adolescence heavily influences breast tissue.  A diet that consists of lots of fiber rich-foods like most fruits and vegetables also means the body is getting healthy doses of antioxidants, another important way to prevent breast cancer.

Talk To Your Teen

Previous smaller studies have not consistently supported the benefits of a high fiber diet in adolescent girls and breast cancer prevention, but the huge scope of this study for over two decades lends weight to its validity.  It’s certainly a good idea to talk with your teenage daughter about her eating habits and make sure she has access to plenty of high fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains regularly. This will not only reduce her risk of breast cancer, but offer improved health overall and set her up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. 

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Researchers Identify New Genetic Risk Factor for Ovarian Cancer

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer to affect women, and is most common in women over the age of 50 who have been through menopause.  However, it can affect women of any age and new research has found a link between the faulty gene BRIP1 and ovarian cancer risk.

Ovarian cancer risks increase in those with the faulty gene BRIP1.

The Research

The study linking a faulty gene to a threefold increased of risk of developing ovarian cancer was published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  Led by scientists at the Cancer Research UK, Cambridge, UCLA and the Imperial College of London, the findings were the result of a study involving a comparison of 8,000 white women of European descent; 3,250 of which had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The rest of the study participants were made up of 3,400 women without ovarian cancer and 2,000 women who had a family history of the disease.

The study also found that those women with the faulty BRIP1 gene were more likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive form of ovarian cancer at a later stage at an older age.

Ovarian Cancer

What causes ovarian cancer is still not known. However, in light of these new clinical findings it does seem that genetics plays a large role in who does and does not develop it. 

The cancer forms in the tissue of a woman’s ovaries and is diagnosed as either ovarian epithelial carcinomas or malignant germ cell tumor.  Epithelial carcinoma is cancer found on the cells on the surface of the ovary. Malignant germ cell tumors are a cancer that originates in ovarian egg cells.

Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors

While there is no known cause of ovarian cancer, here are some risk factors identified by the medical community that increase the chances of developing it:

  • Obesity – a body mass index of 30 or more.
  • Age – ovarian cancer is rare in young women and most common in women over the age of 50 who have been through menopause.
  • Reproductive history – women who have been pregnant and carried the baby to term before the age of 26 seem to have a lower ovarian cancer risk.  The risk actually decreases with each full-term. pregnancy. Women who have their first baby after the age of 35 or never carry a pregnancy to term are at a higher risk for ovarian cancer.
  • Birth Control – women who have taken oral contraceptives have a slightly lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. The decreased risk is seen after only 3 to 6 months of continued use.
  • Gynecological surgery – tubal ligation may reduce ovarian cancer risk, as does a hysterectomy (removal of uterus).
  • Fertility drugs – some fertility drugs may increase a woman’s risk of ovarian tumors.

Preventing Ovarian Cancer

There is no proven method or drug that will prevent ovarian cancer. Women with a family history of the disease, who have not taken birth control or carried a pregnancy to term or are obese, should consult their doctor about ways to reduce their ovarian cancer risk factors and perhaps be tested for the BRIP1 gene if appropriate.

RelatedWhy Do African Americans have Higher Cancer Mortality Rates?

Taking birth control pills for at least three or more years, carrying a pregnancy to term before the age of 35 and breastfeeding have all been linked to a significant reduction in ovarian cancer risk.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer is critical for an early diagnosis.

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain and pressure
  • Feeling abnormally full even after a small meal
  • Trouble eating
  • Increased urination or the urge to urinate frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion and/or heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Back pain
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Pain during intercourse

Treatment for Ovarian Cancer

In general, treatment for ovarian cancer involves surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and radiation therapy.  Usually two or more therapies are combined depending on the stage the disease is in. The sooner it is diagnosed the more effective treatment is.

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Six Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer within their lifetime, making it the most common type of cancer in the United States.  It occurs when mutations in skin cells cause them to multiply quickly and form a malignant mass.  The three main types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and melanomas. 

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among Americans.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the number one cause of skin cancer.  What people may not know is that UV rays from the sun can be just as harmful on cloudy or hazy days as on sunny days, and UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, and snow.  The hours between 10 am and 4 pm have proven to be the most harmful when it comes to UV ray intensity, and in North America, the sun's rays are more powerful during the late spring and early summer.  While some people turn to indoor tanning to avoid the damaging effects of the sunlight, ultraviolet light from tanning beds is just as harmful.

To help prevent skin damage from UV rays, people can engage in a number of healthy practices. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends six tips to reduce skin cancer risk:

  1. Avoid the use of tanning booths or beds
  2. Stay out of the sun during midday hours
  3. Dress in protective clothing that covers the arms and legs
  4. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the head, face, neck, and ears
  5. Wear wrap-around sunglasses that advertise UVA and UVB protection
  6. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 or higher

Related:  Vitamins for Skin: ACE Your Skin Care with ACE

Benefits of Mineral-Based Sunscreens

The best types of sunscreens are those containing zinc or titanium.  Because these types do not break down in sunlight, they do not absorb into the skin and disrupt hormones.  These sunscreens are non-allergenic and block UVA rays better than non-mineral sunscreens, making them a better option for skin cancer prevention.  Because they offer the best safety profiles, mineral-based sunscreens make the best choice for children.

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Lung Cancer is the Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths among American Women

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Lung cancer does not get the same crusading profile as breast and prostate cancer, yet according to the American Cancer Society, it causes more deaths than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.

Lung cancer remains a leading cause of death

Women and Lung Cancer

Although lung cancer is on the decline in men, lung cancer in women is on the increase, both in the numbers of cases diagnosed and the number of lives it claims. In almost 50% of cases, it occurs in women under the age of 50. Some studies suggest that women may be more susceptible to carcinogens in cigarettes as they tend to develop lung cancer after fewer years of smoking than men.

There is some indication that estrogen may play a role in the association between women and lung cancer. Statistics suggest that the use of both birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may lower the risk of lung cancer in women, suggesting that estrogen may provide protection in some cases. However, treatment with estrogen and progesterone HRT after menopause appears to increase the risk of death from lung cancer.

Although women with lung cancer historically respond better than men to chemotherapy and surgery, the survival rate for lung cancer in women is still grim. The overall survival rate five years after diagnosis is just 16%.

Related:  Former Smokers Respond Well to New Treatment

People with the Highest Lung Cancer Risk

Statistics show that African Americans are more likely than other ethnicities to develop and die from lung cancer, even though they have lower smoking rates.  

Age also does not appear to be a barrier to lung cancer risk. Although the disease is most frequently diagnosed in people aged over 55, it can tragically strike people in their 20s and 30s.

Nonsmokers and Lung Cancer

Although lung cancer risk is directly associated with smoking, non-smokers can get lung cancer too. One in 10 cases of lung cancer (around 24,000 cases a year) is diagnosed in people who never smoked. This may be due to genetic predisposition, inhaling smoke involuntarily from tobacco smoked by others, by environmental and occupational exposure to carcinogens, or it may be caused by exposure to radon in the home.

Reducing Your Risk of Lung Cancer

With such a high risk of death from lung cancer, smokers need to seek help to quit right away. Not only will you be reducing your own risk of lung cancer, you will be protecting non-smoking family, friends and work associates too.

Non-smokers should avoid secondhand smoke, eat a healthy diet high in antioxidants, exercise regularly and get your home tested for radon to reduce the risk of lung cancer.
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Ovarian Cancer – Know Your Symptoms

by Cindy Gray

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in women, claiming over 14,000 lives each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Ovarian cancer is the most deadly of all the cancers that may affect the female reproductive system. It is more likely to occur in white women than African American women, and over half of those diagnosed with ovarian cancer symptoms are over the age of 63.

Do you know the 3 ovarian cancer symptoms to watch for?

Recently, the tragic death of Brittany Burns, (girlfriend to a noted Buffalo Bills football player) has recently brought this silent but deadly disease to the attention of the media.

Detecting Early Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Can Save Lives

Women who are diagnosed in the early stage of ovarian cancer have a 90% likelihood of survival. Sadly, a lack of general knowledge about ovarian cancer symptoms means that most women are not diagnosed until the disease is much further advanced.

Unfortunately, the early symptoms of ovarian cancer apply to many other less serious conditions, but if these symptoms persist on a daily basis for two to three weeks, it is essential to visit your doctor and have them checked out.

The four early symptoms of ovarian cancer, according to the Foundation for Women's Cancer, are:

  • Frequent bloating
  • Pain in the stomach or pelvis
  • Feeling full quickly or having problems eating
  • Urinating, or feeling the need to do so, more often than in the past

While all these symptoms may be experienced as part of everyday life at some stage, they are more likely to be ovarian cancer symptoms if they start suddenly, happen daily and continuously, and if feel differently to common menstrual aches and pains (for women of menstruating age.)

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Additional symptoms of ovarian cancer, although alone these are not indicative of cancer, include:

  • Back pain
  • Indigestion
  • Pain with sexual intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Changes in menstrual cycle

Pass this information on to the women in your family and circle of friends. By making everyone aware of ovarian cancer symptoms, lives may be saved and the tragic death of Brittany Burns will not have been in vain.

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Does Green Tea Help Prevent Lung Cancer?

by IVL Products

In countries such as Japan, where green tea is widely drunk, the incidence of lung cancer is lower than elsewhere, even though the smoking rates may be comparable. This strongly suggests that green tea can help prevent lung cancer, according to oncology researcher, Masami Suganuma.

Green tea may help prevent lung cancer

A recent study into the side effects of drinking green tea followed 102 volunteers who drank 40 fluid ounces (five cups) of green tea daily (or took the equivalent amount of green tea extract supplements.) Several years later, the study showed that the smokers in the group developed lung cancer several years later than other people who drank less or no green tea.

Although the primary way to practice lung cancer prevention is by not smoking, it appears that green tea could help slow down or prevent lung cancer from developing.

Green Tea and Lung Cancer Prevention

Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis bush and the leaves are picked and steamed before they start to ferment and oxidize, as in black tea. This preserves the phytochemicals, ensuring a much higher level of antioxidants (catechins) in green tea.

Green tea may help prevent lung cancer along with other cancers as it contains several anti-carcinogenic substances. These include Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), Epicatechin, Epicatechin-3-sulfate and Epigallocatechin.

For a cell to become cancerous, it goes through a series of mutations in its DNA. Smoking appears to trigger this mutation process by causing oxidative damage to cell DNA. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free-radicals that can cause DNA damage, so it is likely that green tea helps prevent lung cancer at this early stage.

This conclusion is backed up by a study on smokers who drank four cups of green tea daily. Their urine was measured for the compound 8-hydroxydeoxyguanozine (8-OHdG) which shows how much oxidative damage has taken place in the body. The smokers who drank green tea had 30% less oxidative damage than the non-tea drinkers.

Related:  Fight Colds and the Flu with Green Tea

EGCG May Help Prevent Lung Cancer

Other ways that green tea helps prevent lung cancer is the presence of EGCG. This component appears to stop cancer cells from dividing, arresting the possibility of cancer progression. However, EGCG does not affect cell division of normal healthy cells. Another benefit of this wonder substance is that it enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapy in those undergoing treatment.

Nicotine is known to stimulate angiogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels) that are necessary for cancer to thrive and spread. Once again, the EGCG is green tea appears to halt nicotine-induced angiogenesis, another way that green tea supports lung cancer prevention.

With so many positive benefits from drinking four or more cups of green tea each day, it can only benefit your health. However, it is best to make your own green tea from tea bags as ready-to-drink green tea has very low levels of EGCG and catechins, reducing the effectiveness of green tea for lung cancer prevention. 

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Nine Ways to Promote Brain Health & Help Avoid Brain Cancer

by Health News

According to Dr. Thomas A. Sellars, up to 70% of cancers can be avoided by a change of lifestyle. Diet, exercise and avoiding tobacco are the most obvious, but there are other ways to help prevent brain tumors and reduce the risk of brain cancer. How many of these practices do you currently do?

Lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of brain cancer

1.     Drink caffeine every day

A British study on coffee drinkers found that those who drank more than five cups of caffeinated coffee had a 40% lower risk of developing brain tumors than those who drank less caffeine, or tea. Caffeine also reduces the risk of mouth and throat cancers.

2.     Use Hands-free Cell Phone Devices

While no definitive connection between brain cancer and cell phone electromagnetic radiation has yet been identified, but several studies suggest there is a link. Use a hands-free device to put some distance between your brain and the radio frequency emitting from the cell phone as a sensible precaution for brain cancer prevention; or use the speaker whenever possible. 

3.     Filter tap water

According to the report from the President’s Anti-Cancer Panel, drinking filtered tap water is safer than bottled water. A simple water filter can reduce exposure to suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals, and it’s easy to do.

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4.     Wear a Hat

Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that people with melanomas on the scalp, head or neck were twice as likely to develop cancer in other areas of the body.

5.     Don’t Top Your Tank

Pumping that last drop of gas into the gas tank after the nozzle clicks off can foil the vapor recovery system on the fuel pump, releasing toxic cancer-causing benzene into the air you are breathing. 

6.     Reduce Radiation to the Head

Every time your dentist x-rays your teeth, you are exposed to cancer-causing radiation. Keep x-rays of the head to a minimum to prevent brain cancer.

7.     Wash Fruit and Vegetables

While five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables are intended to improve health, produce should always be thoroughly washed before consuming. Spray pesticides contain at least 40 known carcinogens which increase brain tumor risk factors.

8.     Marinate Grill Meats

Cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when meat is charred or burned, exactly what happens when grilling meat. The advice from Dr. Cheryl Lyn Walk, Professor of Carcinogenesis at University of Texas is to marinate meat with rosemary and thyme. These antioxidant-rich herbs can reduce HCAs by up to 87%.

9.     Reduce Metastatic Brain Cancer Risk

Tumors formed in other organs can spread to the brain causing metastatic brain cancer. It’s wise to take precautions against all types of cancer by eating antioxidant-rich dark green vegetables, selenium-rich Brazil nuts and exercising daily. By reducing the general risk of cancer, you can help prevent brain tumors and reduce brain tumor risk factors.

Did you score full marks for brain cancer prevention? If not, you need to make these lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of a brain tumor.

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The Best Seeds for Health: Super Seeds to Boost Your Salads

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Everyone knows having a salad on a regular basis is good for you. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vegetables for the average adult is three to five servings, after all.  If you are going to eat your greens why not add a little something extra to them now and then to boost their flavor and your health? Seeds make a great addition to many dishes especially salads. Read on to learn about the best seeds for your health.

The five best seeds for great health!

The Fantastic Five

1. Chia Seeds

There’s a whole lot of goodness packed into these tiny seeds that are native to South America.  The ancient Aztecs and Mayans relied on them as an important food source providing hydration and sustained energy.  Chia is actually the Mayan word for strength.  Despite being small chia seeds are mighty with:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus
  • Vitamins B3 (niacin), B1 (thiamine) and B2
  • The ability to hold twice their weight in liquid

Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants, and can help reduce your risk of heart disease, from developing Type 2 Diabetes, promote bone strength and even aid in your weight loss efforts.

2. Hemp Seeds

While hemp seeds are from the same species of the much more famous and notorious cannabis family (aka marijuana) but they only contain trace amounts of THC, the compound that has a drug-like effect.  They have been a part of Chinese diets and medicine for the past 3,000 years, so their health benefits have stood the test of time.

Hemp seeds are a great source of two very important nutrients, the fatty acids omega-6 and omega 3. They are also a very good source of protein, vitamin E and minerals like phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.  Another nutrient from hemp seeds, amino acid arginine, has been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. These bland looking little seeds have also shown in other studies to decrease inflammation in the body, help reduce blood pressure and decrease your risk of blood clots that can lead to a stroke.

3. Pumpkin Seeds

This year at Halloween when you and the kids carve your Jack-O-Lanterns don’t toss the seeds you scrape out of the pumpkin!  They are one of the best seeds for health and wellness.

Indigenous to the Americas (North, South and Central) ancient cultures called the flat green seeds pepitas. In Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and much of India and Asia pumpkin seeds is a dietary staple.

Pumpkin seeds are recommended by the World Health Organization and for good reason.  They are a plentiful source of diverse antioxidants like vitamin E, phenolic acids and lignans, compounds linked to helping women reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.  Pumpkin seeds also contain a healthy dose of zinc, a mineral essential for healthy red blood cells.

Once you remove the seeds from your pumpkin clean them off and let them dry overnight, then roast them for about 20 minutes at a very low temperature like 160 to 190 degrees for the most flavor.

Related:  Here’s a Quick Way to Get Soy-Free Protein

4. Flax Seeds

If you are looking for one of the best seeds for health, here’s the flax you need to know. 

Ancient Babylonians in the 8th century cultivated flaxseed for King Charlemagne who believed strongly in their health benefits.  Modern day research has shown consumption of flaxseeds is a good way to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to health authority WebMD.

Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called ALA, which are abundant in flaxseeds, have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.  Like pumpkin seeds they contain lignans that have been linked to decreasing the risk of breast cancer and are potent against reducing inflammation in the body.  Eating flaxseeds regularly may also help you keep your cholesterol levels in check and blood sugar levels steady to ward off diabetes.

5. Sunflower Seeds

A sunflower is a tall herbaceous annual plant native to Middle America but has since spread across the globe as a commercial crop in countries like Russian, China, Argentina and the United States. 

Sunflower seeds are delicious and crunchy little powerhouses of healthy goodness. Packed with essential fatty acids, high quality amino acids, natural antioxidants like vitamin E and folic acid, just a handful a day will help keep the doctor away.  They help lower your LDL levels of cholesterol, and provide essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and copper to keep your bones and red blood cell production strong.

Next time you whip up a salad be sure to sprinkle one of the fantastic five best seeds for health on top and enjoy!

 

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Tanning Beds Increase Cancer Risk

by Institute for Vibrant Living

One of life's ironies is the fact that a sun tan makes you look glowing with health, when in reality sunbathing is a major cause of skin cancer. Doctors have warned us for many years about the dangers of the sun's UV rays, but now it seems that tanning beds and skin cancer are just as closely linked, according to the World Health Organization.

Studies now warn of the dangers of tanning beds and skin cancer

The Facts about Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in America. There are three types: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.  Melanomas are the most deadly and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common.

People with fair skin, red hair, freckles and moles are more susceptible to skin cancer than others and studies suggest they are five times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma. The danger of skin cancer is that if left untreated, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body, tissues and organs and be fatal.

Study into Tanning Beds and Skin Cancer

Doctors know there is a direct connection between exposure to the sun and skin cancer, but studies suggest that there is a similar association between tanning beds and skin cancer.

Related:  How the Sun Ages You

Melanomas are most commonly found on the trunk of the body, which in the case of females is only usually exposed to UV rays during sunbathing, either outdoors or on tanning beds. It was this fact, and the fact that the incidence of skin cancer rates increased during the 1980s when tanning beds were introduced, that led scientists to question the association between tanning beds and skin cancer.

A detailed study published by the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention showed that those who use tanning beds regularly are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never used a tanning bed.

In the study, people who had spent more than 50 hours on a tanning bed were three times more likely to develop skin cancer than those who did not. Even more worrying, those who frequently used a high pressure tanning bed were four times more likely to develop skin cancer.

Researchers made other significant findings about the use of tanning beds and skin cancer. They discovered that the risk of melanoma directly increased in line with the amount of exposure, either in total hours or years.

This important study also found that the increased risk of cancer was in users of both high speed machines, which use UVB rays, and high-pressure tanning beds, which emit UVA radiation. As Dr. DeAnn Lazovich concludes, "Data would suggest there is no safe tanning device."

It seems the only safe way to achieve that sun-kissed glow without risking your health is to use a self-tanning lotion.

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Best Foods for Breast Cancer

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Every year in the U.S. around 230,000 women (and a few rare men) receive the terrible news that they have breast cancer. This second leading cause of cancer death in women claims 40,000 lives every year.  On a more positive note, there are 2.9 million breast cancer survivors enjoying life in America today. Several studies have found a range of everyday foods for breast health that can actually lower the risk of breast cancer. 

Foods for breast health may help prevent this deadly disease

Cancer and Cruciferous Vegetables

When it comes to breast cancer, studies have shown a remarkable connection between certain green leafy vegetables and a lower risk of breast cancer. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts and bok choy are all high in anti-carcinogenic DIM (diindolylmethane). They are part of the Brassica family and are equally effective eaten either raw or cooked.

Studies on Cancer and Foods for Breast Health

African American women are known to have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than Caucasian women. A 12-year study of 59,000 African American women showed that those who had a diet high in all vegetables were 43% less likely to develop estrogen receptor-negative breast tumors than similar women who ate fewer vegetables.

When scientists narrowed down the risk further, they found that those who ate two servings of any vegetables per day had significantly lower risk than those who ate four portions or less of vegetables per week. However, those with the highest intake, specifically of cruciferous vegetables, had lower overall risk of developing breast cancer, showing cruciferous vegetables to be excellent foods for breast health.

Related:  Why You Should be Eating Cruciferous Vegetables at Least Once a Week

How Cruciferous Foods Help With Breast Health

Brassicas and other green leafy vegetables are high in phytochemicals and DIMs. They appear to be particularly good foods for breast health as they are known to decrease the Phase 1 enzymes which create carcinogens. As yet, scientists do not understand exactly how these vegetables work, but studies show that the best protection against the risk of breast cancer is by consuming 3-5 servings per week of cruciferous vegetables.

Such is the powerful potency of DIM that the National Cancer Institute is reportedly running clinical trials to establish its potential as a therapy for cancer making broccoli and other green leafy vegetables the best foods for breast health.

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To PSA or Not To PSA

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S., affecting one in every seven men. If not detected at any early stage, it can be a killer; but there is currently controversy over the standard prostate specific antigen test used to detect it.

What is the Prostate Specific Antigen Test for Prostate Cancer?

The prostate specific antigen test is a simple blood test which is commonly used by doctors to determine the presence of prostate cancer. The test works by measuring the prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate gland, in a man's blood. If the blood test shows higher than normal levels of the prostate specific antigen, further more intrusive tests can then be undertaken to assess the problem.

The prostate specific antigen test is the first line of defense in diagnosing prostate cancer at an early stage. Unfortunately the test is not 100% reliable, according to a Canadian Journal of Urology report.   The unreliability of the prostate specific antigen test means that a man with prostate cancer may not show elevated levels of PSA. The protein is present in the blood in very low quantities and may be difficult to detect. Some men with prostate cancer may have normal PSA readings and would be totally unaware of the presence of prostate cancer, which has few symptoms until it is in a late stage. 

Age affects the natural presence of PSA, as the amount generally increases in older men. A normal PSA reading can be anything from 1 to 4 ng/mL.

Other problems can cause elevated PSA, such as inflammation in the urinary tract, prostatitis, or the presence of benign prostate hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate due to non-cancerous prostate gland cells). In some cases, an unnecessary biopsy may be ordered due to misleading results from a prostate specific antigen test.

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Reliable Tests for Prostate Cancer

Men who have a family history of prostate cancer are particularly at risk of developing the disease. They should not rely solely on a prostate specific antigen test although it can be used as a regular additional safeguard.

The most reliable test for prostate cancer is to have an annual digital rectal exam. If there is any sign of the presence of prostate cancer, a biopsy of the prostate cells can then be arranged to rule out the possibility of cancer. A biopsy is the only sure way to determine whether cancer or abnormal cells are present. In the meantime, having regular prostate specific antigen tests and monitoring any increase in PSA can be a sensible preventative measure against prostate cancer.

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Five Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

by Cindy Gray

As the weather warms, people pull out the sunscreen, but sun lovers may want to read labels before slathering up.  Many sunscreen products contain ingredients that cause allergic reactions, disrupt hormones, and promote premature aging.  Look out for five sunscreen ingredients in particular. 

Check for five harmful sunscreen ingredients before slathering up.

Octyl-dimethyl PABA:  This chemical causes sensitivity in some people, either through direct contact or through an interaction with UV rays.  It is also one of several sunscreen ingredients thought to be an endocrine disrupter, meaning it inhibits the function of certain hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Related: Add Omega 3 to Your Skincare Routine

Benzophenone-3:  Also known as oxybenzone, benzophenone-3 has been linked with cell damage, allergies, and xenoestrogenic (behaving like the hormone estrogen) properties.  To show how prevalent this chemical is, a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control on 2,500 subjects ages six years and up found oxybenzone in the urine of 97 percent.  Another study concluded that mothers with high levels of oxybenzone in their systems were more likely to deliver baby girls that were underweight.

Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC):  One of the most frequent sunscreen ingredients, OMC causes sensitivity and allergic reaction as a result of interaction with UV rays.  Research indicates that it may also have xenoestrogenic properties.

Homosalate:  Used by many manufacturers, Homosalate helps sunscreen penetrate the skin.  Accumulating in the body more quickly than it is disposed of, it may become toxic and interfere with hormones.

4-MBC:  Research shows that 4-MBC accelerates the spread of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells, proving its xenoestrogenic behavior.  In animal studies, male rat babies born to mothers exposed to 4-MBC showed delayed puberty, smaller testis, and a smaller adult prostate.  A study from a university in Switzerland found estrogenic properties in all five of the sunscreen ingredients mentioned above, and 4-MBC was the most damaging.

Safe Sunscreen Tips

Make surge to read ingredients carefully before purchasing sunscreen.  Choose products that list zinc oxide or titanium dioxide – both effective mineral sunscreens – as the only active ingredients, with natural bases like olive oil, jojoba, and shea butter.  Follow instructions on the package for proper sunscreen application. 

Hats off to common sense sunscreen protection!  In other words, wear hats to help protect your head, face and neck from sun exposure.  Umbrellas can also be useful, especially on a sunny day.  Wear clothing to protect your skin too, such as long sleeved shirts and pants—some even contain an SPF, sun protection factor as well.  Don’t forget to avoid the sun during peak hours, and take advantage of shade whenever possible.

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Green Tea: A Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

by Cindy Gray

For centuries, green tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat everything from headaches to depression.  Depending on how it’s made, tea can either be green, black or Oolong, all of which are harvested from the leaves and buds of the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Differences in production methods change each tea’s chemical composition and oxidation levels, which is why they taste and smell so uniquely different from each other.

According to Dr. Christine Horner, green tea is a true superfood, defined as a nutrient-dense food with unusually high levels of healthful ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds and others.Green Tea Show Promise as an Anti-Cancer Superfood

Many studies suggest that green tea consumption may protect against heart disease and some types of cancer, including prostate cancer. Most of the health benefits of green tea are thought to be due to powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which include the catechin, although exactly how they benefit our health remains unknown.

Roughly one-third of a typical cup of green tea is made of catechins. Of these, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most prominent catechin and has been studied in great detail in terms of its health potential.

Laboratory and animal research on the effects of green tea in prostate cancer have been promising:

  • EGCG blocks the stimulating effect of androgen (male sex hormone) on human prostate tumor cells, slowing their growth and spread and increasing the rate at which they die.

  • Human prostate cancer cells pre-treated with EGCG were more likely to die when exposed to radiation than cells not treated with EGCG before radiation.

  • Mice bred to develop prostate cancer that were given green tea catechins for 24 weeks did not develop prostate cancer; in other words, green tea catechins appeared to delay the development of prostate cancer.

  • Mice given green tea polyphenols at different ages to match different stages of prostate cancer were tumor-free longer than water-fed mice; and mice that consumed green tea the earliest benefitted the most. Further, these polyphenols caused high levels of cell death, possibly limiting cancer from spreading to other parts of the body.

So far, population studies and clinical trials on humans have shown mixed results: 

  • Of 60 men with high-grade prostatic neoplasia treated with green tea catechin capsules for a year, nine men in the control group were diagnosed with prostate cancer compared to one man in the green tea catechin group; suggesting that green tea catechins lowers risk of prostate cancer in high-risk patients. A two year follow-up showed that this effect was long-lasting.

  • Patients scheduled to undergo radical prostatectomy were given green tea, black tea or soda five times daily for five days. Prostate cancer cells treated with blood taken from patients after they drank tea grew and divided more slowly relative to cells from patients before they drank tea.

Given the powerful anti-cancer potential and other known health benefits of this centuries-old superfood, isn’t it time you added green tea to your diet today?

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Source: Green Tea: A Promising Anti-Cancer Superfood

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Diet and Exercise can Lower Colon Cancer Risk

by Cindy Gray

Research studies consistently show that the dietary and lifestyle choices you make every day can have a significant impact on your risk of developing many diseases, including colon cancer. Your choices add up over time and can gradually shift your risk for colon cancer either toward the higher or lower end of the spectrum.

Research shows that by managing factors within your control, you can lower your risk of developing colon cancer; for example, by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and exercising regularly while at the same time reducing your intake of red meat, high-fat and fried foods.Help Lower Colon Cancer Risk with Diet and Exercise

In fact, the general consensus from scientific literature is that 30-40% of all cancers can be prevented by getting regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.

Diet and proper nutrition are critical aspects of the fight against colon cancer. In general, dietary recommendations include consuming less saturated fat and salt and eating a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in nutrients, as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Here are some general guidelines that can help you lower your risk of developing colon cancer:

  • Consuming plenty of fresh, lightly-cooked and pesticide-free brightly colored fruits and vegetables

  • Eating fresh fish 1 to 3 times per week

  • Limiting consumption of red meat

  • Avoiding excess salt and saturated fats

  • Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping physically active

  • Limiting alcohol consumption

  • Avoiding tobacco in any form

Regular exercise can significantly lower your risk of developing colon cancer.

According to two recently published studies, walking 30 minutes every day significantly reduced the risk of recurrence in patients who had recently been diagnosed with colon cancer. Higher levels of physical activity were seen to contribute to a lower risk of recurrence and mortality, when combined with standard therapies.

In one study, researchers found that patients diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer who walked for six or more hours per week had 50% lower rates of recurrences and death from the disease than inactive patients.

In another study, the same researchers observed 573 women with stages one to three colon cancer and reported that patients who increased their physical activity experienced a 50% reduction in mortality.

These and other studies strongly suggest that exercise has potentially life-saving benefits for cancer survivors, and may lower colon cancer risk in regular, healthy people as well.

 

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Diet and Exercise Can Lower Colon Cancer Risk

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Can Ovarian Cancer be Treated with Frankincense?

by Cindy Gray

In a recent study, researchers have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of the aromatic resin - and one of the three most famous Christmas gifts of all time, frankincense - in treating late stage ovarian cancer.

Frankincense to Treat Ovarian Cancer?The origins of frankincense can be traced to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It’s obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia and is typically used in making incense and perfumes. There are four main species of Boswellia that produce true frankincense.

Frankincense resin is edible and has been used in traditional medicines in Africa and Asia for centuries to aid digestion and healthy skin. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, frankincense is typically used for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system and purifying the air. In East African, Arabian and East Indian cultures it is a common belief that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health.

In the present study, researchers successfully showed the potential effectiveness of the compound AKBA (acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid) - derived from frankincense resin - in targeting and destroying late-stage ovarian cancer cells in laboratory experiments.

According to the study authors, this finding has enough potential to be taken to a clinical trial and developed into an additional or complementary treatment for ovarian cancer.

Frankincense has been used as a folk medicine for centuries due to its anti-inflammatory properties; making it a viable treatment for asthma, skin conditions and gastroenteritis with no known side effects. Previous studies have also successfully linked AKBA as a potential treatment for colon, breast and prostate cancer.

However, this is the first study to demonstrate its potential in combating ovarian cancer. Not only that, AKBA has been shown to be effective at destroying ovarian cancer cells at realistic concentrations. What has been most surprising for the study authors is that cells resistant to chemotherapy have been shown to be more sensitive to this compound, suggesting that frankincense may be able to help overcome drug resistance, and lead to an improved survival rate for patients with late-stage ovarian cancer.

 

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Can Ovarian Cancer Be Treated With Frankincense?