Tag: cancer

Drinking alcohol raises risk of cancer by snapping DNA, scientists find

Drinking alcohol raises risk of cancer by snapping DNA, scientists find

Drinking alcohol raises the risk of cancer by damaging DNA, scientists have discovered for the first time, leading health experts to call for people to cut down on their consumption.

Alcohol is contributes to more than 12,000 cases of cancer each year in Britain, but nobody had shown why it was so harmful.

Now a new study by the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge University, has found that when the body processes alcohol it produces a chemical called acetaldehyde which is harmful to DNA.

The damage happens in blood stem cells, which create the red and white blood cells that carry oxygen through the body and help fight infections.

The researchers found that acetaldehyde snaps the DNA of stem cells, permanently altering the genetic code and triggering cancer.

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Fear of talking about dying ‘leading to thousands of traumatic hospital deaths’

Fear of talking about dying ‘leading to thousands of traumatic hospital deaths’

Thousands of cancer patients would prefer to die at home but are forced to suffer “traumatic” deaths in hospital, according to Macmillan.

Taboos around talking about death are fuelling a “crisis of communication” in the UK that prevents people from planning their final days, warned the organisation in a new report.

Research by the charity found that while 38 per cent of people who die from cancer die in hospital, just one per cent would choose to do so, with 64 per cent saying they wanted to die at home.

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Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer

Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer

Corn biscuits for breakfast; veggie dogs for lunch; okra, tomato and black-eyed peas for tea. It’s probably not a diet to tempt most Americans into shedding a few pounds.

But swapping westernised eating habits for the high-fibre diet of millions of people living in rural southern Africa could dramatically cut the risk of bowel cancer in the West, according to an innovative ‘diet swap’ study.

In research which saw 20 Americans switching diets with 20 South Africans living in rural Kwazulu, scientists saw dramatic effects on bowel cancer risk indicators after just two weeks.

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DNA map offers hope on cancer treatments

DNA map offers hope on cancer treatments

All patients will soon have their tumour’s DNA, its genetic code, sequenced, enabling doctors to ensure they give exactly the right drugs to keep the disease at bay.

Doctors hope it will be an important step towards transforming some types of cancer into a chronic rather than fatal disease.

The technique could enable terminally ill patients, who can currently expect to live only months, to carry on for a decade or more in relatively good health, according to specialists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

“We should be aspiring to cure cancer, but for people with advanced disease, it will be a question of managing them better so they survive for much longer – for many years,” said Prof Alan Ashworth, chief executive of the institute.

“Cancer often appears in people who are old, and if we can keep them alive long enough for them to die of something else, then we are turning cancer into a chronic disease.”

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Daily Aspirin blocks bowel cancer

Daily Aspirin blocks bowel cancer

A daily dose of aspirin should be given to people at high risk of bowel cancer, say scientists.

Two pills a day for two years reduced the incidence of bowel cancer by 63% in a group of 861 at-risk patients, a study reported in The Lancet said.

Newcastle University’s Prof Sir John Burn, who led the study, said the evidence “seems overwhelmingly strong”.

Other experts said the findings added to a growing body of proof that aspirin could be used in the fight on cancer.

The study was conducted on 861 patients with Lynch syndrome, which affects one in every 1,000 people.

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