Think Pink Tip of the Week: Exercise, Diet May Benefit Patients Receiving Cancer Treatments

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By Steven Marsh • May 24th, 2010 • Category: Energy, Health News, Health Resources News

Patients who exercise daily and eat a proper diet while receiving treatments for breast and prostate cancer may improve their overall health, according to a study that will be presented at this year’s annual meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology.

A team of researchers enrolled a total of 50 participants into the trial, which included 30 female breast cancer patients and 20 male patients who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The participants were aged 35 to 80 years, and were either currently receiving cancer treatment or treatment-free for one year.

Following health screenings at the start of the study, each patient was recommended a specific exercise and diet plan that was based on their weight, overall health as well as what time of cancer treatment they were receiving.

The results of the trial showed that patients who were receiving treatment and following appropriate diet and exercise habits were less fatigued and didn’t experience as many side effects caused by the cancer treatments.

Eleanor M. Walker, division director of breast services at Henry Ford Hospital, stated that “using exercise as an approach to cancer care has the potential to benefit patients both physically and psychologically, as well as mitigate treatment side effects.”

In 2009, more than 560,000 patients in the U.S. died from cancer, the American Cancer Association reports.


Tasty Tuesday: Tuna Spiedini

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3/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound tuna, cut into 1-inch cubes, about 24 pieces
12 green onions, trimmed
2 fennel bulbs
2 lemons
1 large red onion
12 cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
For the marinade: Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl.

For the skewers: Toss the cubed tuna in the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green onions and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the green onions to a medium bowl of ice water. When the green onions are cool, pat dry with paper towels. Trim the stalks and the root end off the fennel. Halve the fennel lengthwise then cut each half into 3 pieces. Cut each lemon into 6 pieces. Cut the red onion in half from stem to root end. Cut each half in half again lengthwise and cut each quarter into thirds. There should be 12 pieces of each vegetable.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the tuna and toss the vegetables in the marinade. Thread each skewer starting with a tomato. Then begin to thread the green onion starting with the tip of the white end. Add a piece of tuna. Keeping the ingredients near to the top of the skewer, ribbon the green onion around a piece of tuna and back through the skewer. Next add the red onion, and ribbon the green onion around again and onto the skewer. Next add another piece of tuna, and ribbon the green onion around again and onto the skewer. Next add a piece of fennel, and ribbon the green onion around for the final time. Top with a piece of lemon. Center the ingredients on the skewer.

Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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Think Pink Tip of the Week: Walnuts In Your Diet Help With Breast Cancer Prevention.

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Walnuts aren’t just a good snack – they should become part of your anti-cancer diet. Researchers now think that having two ounces of walnuts every day may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. But walnuts have even more health benefits to tempt you.

Walnuts Pack a Nutritional Wallop
Dr. Elaine Hardman, at the Marshall University School of Medicine has studied walnuts for 15 years. Dr. Hardman says that walnuts contain at least three nutrients that account for their anti-cancer activity. Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols appear to be the most important components of the walnut’s anti-cancer arsenal. Walnuts also contain other healthy nutrients such as natural melatonin, dietary fiber, and plant protein.
Omega-3s and Breast Cancer
While doing a lab study on mice with breast tumors, Dr. Hardman found that when the mice ate walnuts as part of their daily diet, the mice were less likely to develop breast tumors, and those that did had smaller, slower-growing tumors. Even though omega-3 fatty acids are known to have great effects on tumor growth, she thinks that omega-3s can’t be isolated from walnuts, and have the same powerful effect. “It’s probably different components working together to provide the benefit,” said Dr. Hardman.
Roasted, Toasted, or Raw?
While we often eat walnuts that are roasted, Dr. Hardman worked with raw walnuts. So what about those walnuts that you put in your brownies? Does cooking walnuts decrease their health benefits? Dr. Hardman speculated, “My best guess is that light toasting is okay, this would not be long enough to break down the fat and change the benefit compared to what I did. As for longer cooking, I just don’t know – it is possible that some of the components would be even more effective after cooking (for example, the lycopene in tomato is more active after cooking than in a raw tomato) or they could be degraded, or no difference. That is another study.”
Don’t Deconstruct Your Walnuts
So although walnut oil might be good for you when added to salad dressing or baked goods, the oil alone would not be sufficient to prevent or fight breast cancer. During the research study, the walnut oil by itself was not tested. However, Dr Hardman says that, “The oil would contain the omega-3 fat and lipid soluble components but would be missing other components that would be retained in the pulp.” She doesn’t recommend taking nutritional supplements instead of eating the natural foods. “When we start trying to take the foods apart, we rarely see the kind of [cancer-preventative] effect we get from a whole food.”

Fats, Inflammation, and Cancer
Not all dietary fats are the same – some are even good for you. The omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts, fish, soy, and flaxseed can reduce your LDL cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Research about inflammation and cancer incidence is ongoing, but it appears that inflammation can influence the development of cancer. Preventing or reducing inflammation may suppress cancer growth. Omega-6 fatty acids can increase inflammation and cell proliferation, if consumed habitually in excessive amounts. Omega-6s occur in vegetable oils, meats and eggs – all too common in Western diets. Both types of fatty acids are essential for good health, but should be kept in balance.

Walnuts Are Part of Your Anticancer Action Plan
“Epidemiology data indicates that a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish and containing little red meat or added fat would help lower the risk for many types of cancer including breast cancer,” Dr. Hardman reminds us. How much of an impact does a healthy diet have? “30 to 70 percent of cancers are probably preventable with lifestyle changes,” says Dr. Hardman, although experts vary in their opinions. To get the best anticancer action plan going for your life, eat a healthy diet, avoid tobacco and alcohol, do regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, don’t skip your annual mammogram, and remember to do your monthly breast self-exam.

Breast Cancer Prevention May Be In a Nutshell, Says Dr. Elaine Hardman
By Pam Stephan, Guide

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Wellness Wednesday: Supplemental Vitamin D May Help Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

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Vitamin D from supplements may reduce the risk for breast cancer in women with relatively low vitamin D intakes, suggest study findings published online April 14 ahead of print in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study also found a significant inverse trend for higher calcium intakes but no interaction between vitamin D and calcium. However, no associations were found between overall combined vitamin D or calcium intakes from food and supplements and breast cancer risk.

It is unclear whether the possible association between dietary vitamin D and reduced breast cancer risk is confounded or modified by calcium and vice versa, Laura N. Anderson, from Population Studies and Surveillance, Cancer Care Ontario, in Toronto, Canada, and colleagues note in their article. It is also unclear whether the association between dietary vitamin D and breast cancer differs by menopausal status.

To investigate these uncertainties, the researchers used the Ontario Cancer Registry to identify 3101 women aged 25 to 74 years diagnosed between June 2002 and April 2003 with a first pathologically confirmed breast tumor (case patients). The researchers used random-digit dialing methods to identify 3471 matched women without breast cancer (control subjects). All of the women completed an epidemiologic questionnaire and a modified Block food frequency questionnaire that measured 178 foods and supplements.

Supplemental vitamin D at more than 10 µg/day (400 IU/day) vs no supplemental vitamin D was associated with a reduced risk for breast cancer (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.76; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59 – 0.98). However, no dose-response relationship was observed.

The study authors note that the mean intake of vitamin D in study subjects was low. Only 13% of case patients and 14% of control subject reported using single-product vitamin D supplements or cod liver oil. No associations were evident between total combined vitamin D intake or vitamin D intake from foods alone and breast cancer risk.

In addition, there were no statistically significant associations between calcium intake from foods, supplements, or total combined intake and breast cancer risk; however, a significant inverse trend was noted across categories of calcium supplement use (P for trend = .04). Calcium supplement use was more common in study participants than was vitamin D supplement use; 33% of case patients and 35% of control subjects took calcium.

Moreover, the results “do not suggest an interaction between calcium and vitamin D intakes, and these 2 variables did not confound each other,” according to the researchers. There were also no significant interactions between vitamin D, calcium, or menopausal status, and multivitamin use was not associated with breast cancer risk.

The study authors point out that measuring vitamin D or calcium from foods as opposed to supplements may be more prone to misclassification (potentially biasing results toward the null). It is also possible that foods containing vitamin D and calcium contain other detrimental components that counteract the potential benefits from vitamin D, such as dietary fat in milk. Furthermore, the possibility that the observed associations were the result of chance or residual confounding cannot be ruled out; however, the finding that multivitamin use was not associated with breast cancer risk suggests that the associations are not because of residual confounding by other unmeasured healthy lifestyle traits among supplement users.

Strengths of the study, the authors say, include its large sample size, population-based recruitment of case patients and control subjects, and high response rates.

Limitations of the study include observational design, possible misclassification of measurement of vitamin D or calcium from foods vs supplements, and possible chance results or residual confounding.

“Further research is needed to investigate the effects of higher doses of vitamin D and calcium supplements,” the researchers conclude.

The study authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Am J Clin Nutr. Published online April 14, 2010.


Fitness Friday: Hit Every Muscle in 5 Minutes

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Beyond busy? Try this fast, total-body routine from Keli Roberts, a master trainer in Pasadena and star of the TimeSavers video workout series.

1. Clean and Press
Minute: 0:00-1:00
Targets shoulders, back, butt, legs
a. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place a 5-pound dumbbell on the floor near each foot. Squat, bringing the dumbbells to the outside of your knees, palms down.
b. Stand, bringing the dumbbells to your hips, then raise the weights through your shoulders and overhead. Lower and repeat for 60 seconds.

2. Side Lunge and Row
Minute: 1:00-2:00
Targets back, butt, legs
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of 5-pound dumbbells at your sides. Take a big step out to the right with your right foot, bending right knee 90 degrees while keeping left leg straight. Draw your left elbow straight up, keeping arm close to side and butt tight. Return to start and repeat for 30 seconds; switch sides.

3. Pli� Squat and Biceps Curl
Minute: 2:00-3:00
Targets biceps, butt, inner thighs
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed out, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand with arms extended, palms up. Bend knees 90 degrees, squatting as you curl weights toward your shoulders. Return to start and repeat for 60 seconds.

Minute: 3:00-4:00
Targets shoulders, chest, triceps, abs, back
Begin in full push-up position, palms on floor under shoulders and legs extended. Do one push-up, then carefully lift your left hand off the floor, extending your arm out to side. Holding here, lift your right foot off the floor. Lower hand and foot to floor. Do another push-up and repeat with opposite hand and foot. Continue, alternating sides.

5. Single-Leg Deadlift with Kick-Back
Minute: 4:00-5:00
Targets triceps, back, legs
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding 5-pound dumbbells with elbows bent 90 degrees, hands close to your rib cage. Lift your left foot behind you and bend forward slowly from the hips as you straighten your arms, bringing them next to your hips. Return to starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, December 2006.

Tasty Tuesday: Salmon Salad with Cheesy Bread Sticks

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Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
1 ounce Neufchatel cheese
8 whole wheat bread sticks
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
4 5-ounce salmon fillets
3/4 teaspoon salt
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 cups mixed greens
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1. Microwave the Neufchatel in a bowl until just warm, about 10 seconds; stir until smooth. Roll one end of each bread stick in the cheese and sprinkle with chives. Set aside.
2. Add 1 inch water to a skillet and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain; run under cold water. Cut into bite-size pieces.
3. Sprinkle the salmon with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray. Add salmon and cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes per side.
4. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and remaining salt. Combine the greens, grapes, and asparagus; toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Drizzle remaining dressing over the warm salmon.
5. Divide the salad among four plates; top each plate with a salmon fillet and two bread sticks.

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Wellness Wednesday: Exercise improves cancer patients’ quality of life–study

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Exercise as a regular part of a comprehensive care plan for patients with breast and prostate cancer not only improves their emotional outlook and quality of life, but also helps combat the profound fatigue and weakness they experience during cancer treatment, finds a new study.

People undergoing cancertreatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy often complain of various negative effects such as loss of physical function, weariness, nausea, depression and anxiety.

According to experts, exercise enhances fitness and muscular strength and uplifts mood and self esteem, besides reducing the dependency on extra supplements to counter the side effects.

Lead author of the study, Eleanor M. Walker, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan stated, “Using exercise as an approach to cancer care has the potential to benefit patients both physically and psychologically, as well as mitigate treatment side effects.

“Plus, exercise is a great alternative to patients combating fatigue and nausea who are considering using supplements which may interfere with medications and chemotherapy they’re taking during cancer treatment.”

The unique program ExCITE
In order to evaluate the impact of exercise on cancer patients, the researchers developed a unique program called ExCITE (Exercise and Cancer Integrative Therapies and Education).

As a part of the program, experts worked with the patients receiving cancer treatments by designing individualized exercise ventures.

A group of about 20 prostate cancer patients and 30 breast cancer patients aged between 35 to 80 years were selected. Some of the patients opted for exercising at home, while others chose to go to Henry Ford’s fitness centers.

At the start of the study, the endurance and exercise capacity, muscle strength, bone density, metabolic and blood samples were obtained of all the participants.

The same information was once again taken at the end of the study.

The diet and physical regimes were coordinated on the basis of stamina, exercise tolerances, weight, health and type of cancer treatment.

Acupuncture was advised for patients who experienced hot flashes, pain, nausea/vomiting, insomnia and neuropathy due to the cancer treatment.

The study tracked the patients’ exercise routine during treatment and for 1-year following completion of cancer treatment.

Observations by the researchers
The investigators noted that weariness, memory loss and nausea the common side effects linked to cancer treatments decreased significantly by regular exercises, while some reported experiencing no adverse effects.

Cheryl Fallen of Gross Pointe Park, Michigan, who took part in the ExCITE program stated, “Overall, the program makes you feel better about yourself. It’s a positive support for cancer patients, and I really think it’s allowed me to be more productive during my treatment.”

The design and intervention methods of the study will be presented on June 7 at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

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Tasty Tuesday: Farfalle with Watercress, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta…Enjoy!

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8 ounces farfalle pasta
1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cups watercress leaves (from 2 small bunches)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Make It
Cook pasta according to package directions. Place the cheese in a large bowl; top with the watercress. Before draining the pasta, take 1/4 cup of the cooking water from the pot and pour it over the watercress. (Watercress will wilt slightly and cheese will get soft.) Place the tomatoes in a colander. Drain the pasta over the tomatoes for a super-quick blanch. Toss with the watercress and cheese; sprinkle with pepper and serve.

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