Eleven Herbs and Spices…and Arsenic?
Arsenic levels detected in young chickens measured up to four times greater than previously recognized, according to research from the National Institutes of Health, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Arsenic is added to animal feed to control intestinal parasites. In humans, chronic arsenic exposure is linked to skin, respiratory, and bladder cancers. Chicken consumption has increased steadily from 32 pounds per person in 1966 to 81 pounds per person in 2000.
Lasky T, Sun W, Kadry A, Hoffman MK. Mean total arsenic concentrations in chicken 1989-2000 and estimated exposures for consumers of chicken. Environ Health Perspect. 2004;112:18-21.
Skip the Fish; Make It Vegetarian
Farm-raised salmon, marketed as a “healthy” option, actually contains more cancer-causing pollutants than wild salmon, according to a study in the journal Science. A sampling of 700 salmon bought around the world found the most polluted fish in Northern Europe, followed by North America and Chile—the sources of most U.S. salmon. Farm-raised salmon had significantly higher concentrations of 13 out of 14 organochlorine pollutants tested, including PCBs, dioxins, toxaphene, and dieldrin.
Hites RA, Foran JA, Carpenter DO, Hamilton MC, Knuth BA, Schwager SJ. Global assessment of organic contaminants in farmed salmon. Science 2004;303:226-9.
Trim Down to Avoid Prostate Cancer
Obesity increases a man’s risk for aggressive prostate cancer and for recurrence after radical prostatectomy, according to research studies published in Cancer and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. One research team evaluated data from nine U.S. military medical centers on 3,162 radical prostatectomy patients, 600 of whom were obese. Obesity was associated with a higher-grade cancer and higher recurrence rates.
Another study, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, looked at 1,106 prostatectomy patients, also finding obesity associated with higher-grade tumors, invasion into neighboring tissues, and recurrence.
Freedland SJ, Aronson WJ, Terris MK, et al. The percentage of prostate needle biopsy cores with carcinoma from the more involved side of the biopsy as a predictor of prostate specific antigen recurrence after radical prostatectomy: results from the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) database. Cancer 2003;98:2344-50.
Freedland SJ, Aronson WJ, Kane CJ, et al. Impact of obesity on biochemical control after radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer: a report by the shared equal access regional cancer hospital database study group. J Clin Oncol 2004;22:446-53.
Fiber and Eating Less Can Reduce Colon Cancer Risk
Colon cancer, one of the most common malignancies in developed countries, hits African Americans especially hard. The North Carolina Colon Cancer Study investigated possible causes in 1,700 participants from 1996 to 2000. Total caloric intake was associated with an increased risk of colon cancer in both African Americans and whites. However, consumption of a high-fiber diet was associated with a 50 to 60 percent risk reduction in African Americans. Whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits are not only low in calories, but also high in fiber and rich in a number of other cancer-fighting compounds.
Satia-Abouta J, Galanko JA, Potter JD, Ammerman A, Martin CF, Sandler RS. Associations of total energy and macronutrients with colon cancer risk in African Americans and whites: results from the North Carolina Colon Cancer Study. Am J Epidemiol 2003;158:951-62.
Quit Smoking, Cut Possibility of Breast Cancer
Incidence of breast cancer was 30 percent greater in smokers compared to non-smokers, according to a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The prospective study looked at 116,544 women enrolled in the California Teachers Study beginning in 1995. Risk was highest for women who started smoking at a young age, began smoking at least five years before their first pregnancy, or had longer, more intensive smoking histories.
Reynolds P, Hurley S, Goldberg DE. Active smoking, household passive smoking, and breast cancer: evidence from the California Teachers Study. J Natl Cancer Inst 2004;96:29-37.
Two Carrots Up for Super Size Me
Super Size Me, the highly acclaimed new documentary about a filmmaker who eats nothing but McDonald’s meals for 30 days, is a must-see. The film, which features an interview with PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., about the addictive nature of many unhealthy foods, won filmmaker Morgan Spurlock a Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival this spring. After one month on his meat-heavy, fast-food diet, Spurlock gains 25 pounds and becomes dangerously sick.