Entries in American Cancer Society (7)


According to New Study, Alcohol Increases Risk of Cancer Death

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- According to a new study, drinking alcohol is a major contributor to cancer mortality and costs drinkers years of their lives.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that "alcohol consumption resulted in an estimated 18,200 to 21,300 cancer deaths, or 3.2 percent to 3.7 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths."

While some studies have shown that moderate drinking has cardiovascular benefits, the new report states that "there is no safe threshold for alcohol and cancer risk." The most frequent alcohol-attributable cancer deaths were from breast cancer in women, and mouth, throat and esophogeal cancer in men.

According to the American Cancer Society, it is unclear how exactly alcohol consumption might increase cancer risk. The study determined that minimizing or eliminating alcohol consumption is "an important and underemphasized cancer prevention strategy."

"If you do drink, limit your consumption," said Susan Gapstur, vice president of epidemiology at the Cancer Society. She also pointed out that smoking is much more significant in terms of increasing risk of cancer.

While approximately 20,000 cancer deaths each year can be attributed to alcohol, smoking is to blame for over 100,000 cancer deaths annually.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ann Romney Makes Strides for Breast Cancer

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Ann Romney will literally be taking large strides toward defeating breast cancer on Saturday morning, when she’ll walk in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k in Orlando, Fla.

A representative of the American Cancer Society has confirmed to ABC News that Mrs. Romney is registered to participate in the walk. (Husband Mitt is not expected to walk alongside her.) She will join fellow survivors and the community at Lake Eola Park. Romney herself has battled with breast cancer; she was diagnosed with the illness in January 2009.

Ann Romney, who has had a long family history with the disease, says that cancer is a “serious business.”

“I lost my mother from ovarian cancer, I lost my grandmother from ovarian cancer, I lost my great-grandmother from breast cancer, so for me, you know, it’s been a long line of cancer,” Romney admitted. “Women that have dealt with cancer in their lives, and I unfortunately saw my grandmother die from ovarian and I took care [of] and loved my mother in her death, with her battle with ovarian cancer. So cancer is a serious business.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Mrs. Romney was seen just last week supporting the cause by wearing a bright pink Oscar de la Renta dress to the second presidential debate. A spokeswoman for Mrs. Romney said she “has been very involved with breast cancer awareness this month by visiting hospitals and meeting with patients and survivors. She’s worn lots of pink as a result!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


American Cancer Society Blogger Apologizes for Bald Barbie Flub

Andy Kropa/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- One unlikely person apologized Wednesday after catching the wrath of the nearly 130,000 people who have joined a social media campaign urging Mattel to make a bald Barbie.

Andrew Becker, a director of media relations for the American Cancer Society, drew ire after posting a controversial blog post on the American Cancer Society’s website called  "Bald Barbie Demand Is an Over-Reach.”  In the post, Becker said the Bald Barbie movement could “do more harm than good for kids and parents.”

“If they are mass marketed, many of these dolls will end up in the hands of girls who luckily aren’t likely to be touched by cancer in themselves or their mothers. But could they end up being terrorized by the prospect of it in a far outsized proportion to their realistic chances? There is no reason to create this sort of fear,” Becker wrote.

Outraged supporters of the Bald Barbie campaign took to the cancer society’s Facebook page, demanding that Becker be fired. Someone named Chanda called Becker’s blog post “callous talk.”

“There are little girls and little boys out there feeling like they no longer fit in -- they no longer have children in their class they can relate to,” she wrote.

Becker took down his offending blog Wednesday and replaced it with an apology.

“When I set out to write, I wanted to raise questions about activism and social media around disease. I did not mean to imply that I or the American Cancer Society believes that sick children are not important,” he wrote.

But Becker’s response did not appease.

“He does not know who he messed with,” a commenter named Mindy wrote.  “An apology on their blog is not enough. We won’t stop until there is equity in funding for childhood cancer, and this man has a new job!”

Becker told ABC News in an email that he prefers to let his apology statement speak for itself.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Could Breast Cancer Treatment Result in Cognitive Problems?

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The chemotherapy and radiation that helps to save patients' lives comes with their own costs, and not all of them are physical. Breast cancer survivors have more to worry about than a return of the disease.
A new online analysis in the journal Cancer, published by the American Cancer Society, finds they may have problems with some mental abilities years after treatment.
The authors compared women who were treated with chemotherapy and radiation, women who were treated with radiation only and women with no history of cancer. They confirmed previous research that chemotherapy can cause problems with memory and concentration up to three years after treatment ends.
But those who got radiation only often had problems similar to those who received both chemotherapy and radiation -- suggesting chemotherapy isn't solely to blame for these side effects.
The study found no evidence of cognitive problems from hormonal therapy such as tamoxifen.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


The Great American Smokeout: Tips for People Deciding to Quit

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The American Cancer Society continues its tradition Thursday with the 36th Great American Smokeout -- a day dedicated to encourage smokers to either quit or set a date to officially put down the pack.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are still 46 million smokers in the country, and one in five deaths can be attributed to tobacco use. What's worse, the CDC says, 70 percent of smokers who try to quit relapse, and experts say it takes a smoker seven to 10 times to quit for good.

Here are seven tips from leading experts for smokers looking to kick the habit:

1. Quit on a Monday

Some experts say that a huge part of whether or not smokers successfully become ex-smokers all depends on what day of the week you decide to quit.

"There's a logic to it," said Dr. Thomas Glynn, the director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society.  "It's good to pick a time you're more busy, and Monday is ideal.  It's the beginning of the week, beginning of a new non-smoking life for you."

2. Find a Reason to Quit

"The main thing for any smoker is they have to analyze how committed they are to this," said Glynn.  "Write down the reason you want to stop on a piece of paper.  Take that piece of paper, laminate it, keep it in a special place, pull it out every time you want to start."

3. Get Treatment

Dr. John Hughes of the University of Vermont, who looks into the psychology of quitting, said the best thing smokers can do is get professional treatment.

Glynn agreed, and said that pairing medications with counseling is more useful than doing just counseling alone.

4. Take Advantage of Medicines

Hughes said that using over-the-counter drugs, including nicotine gum, lozenges or patches, doubles the chances of a smoker quitting.  He added that using over-the-counter patch to deliver a constant stream of medication and a lozenge or gum to combat intense cravings is something many physicians have been recommending -- though the FDA is still determining if it's a safe option.

5. If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again

Experts say that it usually takes smokers seven to 10 attempts to kick the habit before they actually give it up for good, and Hughes said it's important that people trying to quit don't stop if they happen to relapse.

6. Communicate with Loved Ones

Hughes and Glynn both said that there are several things non-smokers can do to help their loved ones get through the day, including sitting down with them to set some ground rules.

"Ask them not to smoke around you, keep the cigarettes away from you, make cigarettes not very available," Hughes said.  "Going a day without smoking for them is harder than if I fasted for a day.  Many smokers would much rather go without eating for a day than without cigarettes."

7. Look at Your Bank Account

These days, Glynn said, economics is driving a lot of people to think about quitting as much as their health is.  The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the U.S. is $5.50, and in some regions, packs can cost upwards of $10.

People are not only spending an extra $2,000 to $4,000 per year just on the habit alone, but must also account for extra health care costs, dental visits, dry cleaning, etc.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


American Cancer Society Releases Annual Cancer Report

Duncan Smith/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- There will be an estimated 1,596,670 new cancer diagnoses and over half a million cancer deaths in 2011, according to the just-released American Cancer Society annual Cancer Facts and Figures report.

While rates of new diagnoses have remained mostly stable in the 2000s, the overall cancer death rates have been steadily decreasing.  In fact, reduction in overall cancer death rates since 1990 adds up to almost 900,000 avoided deaths.  

But there is one important deviation from this relatively stable pattern, which confirms similar findings already reported in a study published this past February: deaths from lung cancer in women have decreased.  The finding is significant because while death rates for men have been steadily declining over the past 20 years, those for women have been, for the most part, increasing or have remained steady.  

Experts say this lag in lung cancer trends for women compared to men is a reflection of the later increase of cigarette smoking in women, which peaked some 20 years later than in men.
One study author says the decline is expected to continue for at least two decades.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Daily Aspirin Use May Reduce Cancer-Related Deaths, Researchers Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A study released Monday shows that long-term daily aspirin use reduces risk of cancer-related deaths for a number of common cancers such as esophageal, colorectal and lung cancers.  It has been known that taking daily aspirin can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, but this is the first study suggesting that daily aspirin can reduce cancer deaths.

The authors analyzed data from previous studies that evaluated the benefits of aspirin for prevention of cardiovascular disease.  Over 25,000 people and eight different studies were assessed, and the data revealed that those individuals who took aspirin had a 20 percent lower risk of cancer-related death compared to trial participants not taking aspirin.  Aspirin was particularly effective in reducing mortality from adenocarcinomas, which are particular types of cancers found in many tissues.

The beneficial effect of aspirin was apparent only after five years, but increased as time went on.  The benefit was also not dependent on the dose of aspirin.  As the authors themselves state, “These findings have implications for guidelines on use of aspirin," as well as for our understanding of cancer.

As for cancer patients wondering if a daily aspirin is the right option for them, Eric Jacobs, Strategic Director of Pharmacoepidemiology at the American Cancer Society says it may not be for everybody.

“Many people may wonder if they should start taking aspirin tomorrow.  It’s important to first discuss aspirin use with your doctor who knows your personal medical history.  Decisions about aspirin use should be made by balancing the risks against the benefits.  Even low dose aspirin can substantially increase the risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding,” he said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio