Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise shown to help pro­tect against breast can­cer

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health - Com­piled by Dr Chris­tine White

REG­U­LAR ex­er­cise could help pre­vent breast can­cer. In the

this week, re­searchers re­port that girls and young women who ex­er­cise reg­u­larly be­tween the ages of 12 and 35 are less likely to be di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer be­fore menopause com­pared to those who are less ac­tive. A to­tal of 64,777 women aged 24 to 42 were sur­veyed about their level of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity from the age of 12 to their cur­rent age. Dur­ing the fol­low­ing six years, 550 of th­ese women de­vel­oped breast can­cer. Those with high ac­tiv­ity lev­els — equiv­a­lent to 3.25 hours run­ning or 13 hours walk­ing per week— were 23 per cent less likely to de­velop breast can­cer than less-ac­tive women. Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise be­tween the ages of 12 and 22 had the great­est pro­tec­tive ef­fect.


Jour­naloftheNa­tion­alCancer JNatlCancerInst 2008;doi:10.1093/jnci/djn135 (Maru­tiSS,etal) BREAST­FEED­ING isn’t only good for ba­bies, ac­cord­ing to a new study in the

. The au­thors found that


An­nal­softhe women who have breast­fed for more than a year have half the risk of rheumatoid arthri­tis com­pared to women who have never breast­fed. Rheumatoid arthri­tis (RA) is a painful in­flam­ma­tion of the joints caused by the body’s own im­mune sys­tem. The study in­cluded 136 women with RA and 544 women of a sim­i­lar age with­out the dis­ease. Com­pared to women who had never breast­fed (re­gard­less of whether or not they had chil­dren), those who had breast­fed for a to­tal of 13 months or more were 54 per cent less likely to have RA. Those who had breast­fed for 1-12 months were 25 per cent less likely to de­velop the dis­ease. Ann Rheum Dis 2008;doi:10.1136/ard.2007.084707 (Pik­wer M, et al)

LOS­ING teeth could be an early warn­ing sign

of can­cer, claims a new study in

Can­cer Epi­demi­ol­ogy,Biomark­er­sandPreven­tion

. The study shows a strong link be­tween tooth loss and in­creased risk of some types of can­cer. The find­ings sug­gest that pre­serv­ing teeth could de­crease the risk of de­vel­op­ing th­ese dis­eases, and show the im­por­tance of good oral hy­giene to over­all health. Re­searchers com­pared tooth loss in 5240 Ja­panese can­cer pa­tients and 10,480 healthy con­trols. Peo­ple with tooth loss were 136 per cent more likely to de­velop esophageal can­cer, 68 per cent more likely to de­velop head and neck can­cer and had a 54 per cent in­creased risk of lung can­cer, re­gard­less of whether or not they smoked. The risk of can­cer in­creased pro­por­tion­ally to the num­ber of teeth that had been lost. Can­cer Epi­demiol Biomark Prev 2008;17 (Hi­raki A, et al) WOM­E­Nat high risk of breast can­cer should be given an ul­tra­sound as well as a mam­mo­gram to bet­ter de­tect can­cer in its early stages, sug­gests a new study in the


. The study found that adding a sin­gle ul­tra­sound screen­ing test to rou­tine mam­mog­ra­phy would pick up an ex­tra 1.1 to 7.2 can­cers per 1000 high-risk women. Ul­tra­sound is more ef­fec­tive than mam­mog­ra­phy at de­tect­ing small tu­mours that have not yet spread to the lymph nodes — the stage at which treat­ment is usu­ally most ef­fec­tive. Sci­en­tists stud­ied the ef­fec­tive­ness of mam­mog­ra­phy plus ul­tra­sound com­pared to mam­mog­ra­phy alone in de­tect­ing breast can­cer in 2637 women at high risk of the dis­ease. Mam­mog­ra­phy alone de­tected breast can­cer in 20 women, whereas mam­mog­ra­phy plus ul­tra­sound picked up 31. JAMA 2008;299:2151-2163 (Berg WA, et al) BREAST can­cer sur­vivors of­ten suf­fer from hot flushes and sleep de­pri­va­tion, but a new study in has shown that an in­jec­tion into the nerves of the neck that con­trol tem­per­a­ture — a stel­late gan­glion block’’ — could pro­vide long-term


‘‘ re­lief. The pilot study in­volved 13 breast can­cer sur­vivors with se­vere hot flushes, each of whom was treated with a stel­late gan­glion block. For one week be­fore the pro­ce­dure and 12 weeks af­ter, par­tic­i­pants recorded the num­ber and in­ten­sity of hot flushes and the num­ber of sleep dis­tur­bances. Over the 12-week pe­riod the num­ber of hot flushes de­creased from an av­er­age of 79.4 per week to just 8.1 per week. Night awak­en­ings also de­creased, from 19.5 to 1.4 per week, and there were no neg­a­tive side ef­fects from the treat­ment. Lancet On­col 2008;doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(08)701311 (Lipov EG, et al)

Want to know more? Items are ref­er­enced where pos­si­ble. A ref­er­ence such as 2007;35:18-25’’ means the source ar­ti­cle was pub­lished on pages 18-25 in vol­ume num­ber 35 of the pub­li­ca­tion, in 2007. A doi num­ber or web­site ad­dress is used for re­search pub­lished on a jour­nal’s web­site.


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