Your barbecue and pancreatic cancer

April 27, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER


How do you like your meat? Rare or well-done?

The barbecue season has opened in many parts of the world. And meat is the staple of most barbecues. Meat that is well-done, sometimes even slightly burnt. Researchers from the University of Minnesota is warning us that regular consumption of meat, especially when well-done and charred, can increase our risk for pancreatic cancer by 60%. How does this happen?

According to the American Cancer Society

Cooking meats at very high temperatures creates chemicals (heterocyclic amines, or HAs) that might increase cancer risk. Heterocyclic amines (HAs) are created by the burning of amino acids and other substances in meats cooked at particularly high temperatures and that are particularly well-done. HAs turn up in grilled and barbecued meat as well as broiled and pan-fried meat.

The study surveyed more than 62,000 people and their eating habits, e.g. meat consumption, preference in meat preparation and “doneness”. The study participants were followed up for about 9 years as part of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLO) screening trial.

Choose lean cuts of meat and trim any excess fat. Fat dripping onto hot coals causes smoke that contains potential carcinogens. Less fat means less smoke.

Line the grill with foil and poke small holes in it so the fat can still drip off, but the amount of smoke coming back onto the meat is lower.

Avoid charring meat or eating parts that are especially burned and black – they have the highest concentrations of HAs.

Add colorful vegetables and fruit to the grill. Many of the chemicals that are created when meat is grilled are not formed during the grilling of vegetables or fruits, so you can enjoy grilled flavor worry-free. Red, yellow, and green peppers, yellow squash, mushrooms, red onions, and pineapple all grill well and make healthy additions to your plate.

This is not the first study to indicate that meat consumption can have some detrimental effects on our health, regardless of food preparation. According to the National Institutes of Health, four ounces of red meat per day is the limit for the average adult. However, most Americans consume more than that. Or any barbecue loving people for that matter.

Red meat, be it as steak, burger, or sausage, not only increases your risk for cancer, but for cardiovascular disease as well. It is rich in saturated fat and cholesterol. You can also check out some tips on how to make your barbecue more heart-friendly at Battling Heart Disease and Stroke.

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Nicotine and cancers (yes, that’s a plural)

November 25, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

The direct link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer is well-established. But what about other types of cancer?

Nicotine is one of the major components of tobacco and can be found in high concentrations in the blood and the urine of cigarette smokers. Although not considered a full-blown carcinogen that promotes tumor development, it is however suspected to have a growth-enhancing effect on existing cancer cells. This post looks at recent research on the link between nicotine and different types of cancer.

Nicotine and breast cancer

This study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research suggests that nicotine can have a potentiating role in tumor development. The researchers demonstrated through a series of lab test

“… that breast epithelial-like MCF10A cells and cancerous MCF7 cells both express several subunits of nAChR (nicotine receptor), that when bound, initiate a signaling process, potentially increasing cell growth and migration.”

As a carcinogen, nicotine does not seem to act alone but rather combines with other carcinogens with disastrous effect. According to the researchers, “…nicotine, possibly through perturbing cell cycle checkpoints, potentiates tumorigenesis in mammary cancer-prone or cancer cells.”

Aside from promoting the development of breast cancer, nicotine as a cocarcinogen is also linked to the spread of cancer through tumor migration from the breast to other organs.

Nicotine and bladder cancer

In another study, Taiwanese researchers observed that nicotine can de detected in significant quantities in the urine of cigarette smokers. The study aimed to investigate “whether there is nicotine-induced bladder epithelial cell proliferation and to identify the signaling transduction pathway regulated by nicotine.” The results suggested that nicotine exposure is a major risk factor for bladder cancer.

Nicotine and apoptosis

Apoptosis is a process wherein our body destroys unwanted cells. It is sometimes called “programmed cell death” and is protective mechanism that can protect us from cells that might potentially turn harmful (e.g. cancerous). Several studies suggest that nicotine may have some adverse effect on apoptosis. This recent study by Stanford University researchers showed that continued smoking during cancer treatment can lead to resistance to chemotherapy among lung cancer patients due to the anti-apoptotic effect of nicotine.

Nicotine in the gastrointestinal tract

This study by Chinese researchers show that nicotine can have some “aggravatory effect on … gastric mucosa injury” induced by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, one of the major causes of gastric ulcers.

Nicotine effect on different human cancer cells

This study by researchers at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute tested the effect of nicotine on different types of human cancer cells. The results show that aside from an inductive effect on lung cancer cell lines, it also induced proliferation of and invasion by breast and pancreatic cancer cells.

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The link between pancreatic cancer and hepatitis B

November 11, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

Do you have a history of hepatitis B infection?

Then you should be aware that hepatitis B infection may increase your risk of getting pancreatic cancer. This is based on the new study led by Manal M. Hassan, assistant professor at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The study showed that patients with pancreatic cancer are twice as likely to have a past history of hepatitis B compared to those without the disease. Researchers, however, stated that more studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between the two diseases.

The researchers studied 476 patients with pancreatic cancer and 879 healthy individuals by testing their blood to determine if they have evidence of hepatitis B and C infection. Almost 8% of the patients with pancreatic cancer had history of hepatitis B. However, only 3.2% were positive to hepatitis B for those without the cancer. The results were similar even when smokers were excluded in the analysis. Diabetic individuals (who are usually prone to pancreatic cancer) with hepatitis B also had a 7-fold increase in cancer risk compared to those healthy individuals tested. Hepatitis C, on the other hand, was not found to be associated with pancreatic cancer.

According to the authors, previous studies reported that hepatitis B antigens were found in pancreatic fluids. Another study also observed that people with chronic hepatitis B infection have impaired pancreatic function. These findings suggest that hepatitis B virus may increase cancer risk by causing inflammation or DNA damage in the pancreas.

“While our findings indicate that past exposure to hepatitis B is associated with the development of pancreatic cancer, more research is needed to determine whether this relationship is one of cause and effect,” said lead author Manal M. Hassan. “If these findings can be confirmed by other studies, hepatitis B could be another risk factor for pancreatic cancer that is readily modifiable with treatment, and even preventable with a vaccine.”

 The National Cancer Institute (NCI) defines pancreatic cancer as a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. It is also called exocrine cancer. In 2008 alone, approximately 37,680 people in the US have been pancreatic cancer resulting in death of 34,290 individuals.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancer to cure because symptoms are normally observed when the disease is already at an advanced stage. Diabetes and smoking increase the risk of pancreatic cancer but people without the risk factors may also develop the disease. For more information about pancreatic cancer, you can download this online booklet from the NCI site.

Pancreatic Cancer

May 27, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

The pancreas is considered a glandular organ. It is about 7 inches by 1.5 inches in size. It lies under the stomach and at the beginning of the small intestine, and functions as an exocrine organ by producing fluids for digesting food. It functions as an endocrine organ as it releases hormones. When released into the blood stream, these hormones regulate our glucose levels (insulin and glucagon).

Pancreatic cancer is a cancerous tumor that occurs in the tissues of this gland/organ.

Estimated new cases and deaths from pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2008 per the National Cancer Institute: New cases, 37,680 and deaths, 34,290.

This type of cancer typically spreads fast and is often not diagnosed in the early stages.

Per the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, which may not occur until the cancer is in the advanced stages:

  • Upper abdominal pain that may radiate to your back
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Depression

There are two types of pancreatic cancer: exocrine and endocrine. Endocrine cancers are very rare. The American Cancer Society states that exocrine cancers are the most common and 95% of those diagnosed are adenocarcinomas.

Risk Factors for Exocrine (Pancreatic) Cancers:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Gender-men have a slightly increased rate of occurrence
  • Race-occurs more often in blacks than Caucasians
  • Age-most people diagnosed are in their 70’s and 80’s
  • Personal or family history of pancreatic cancer
  • History of chronic pancreatitis
  • Diabetes-occurs more often in diagnosed diabetics

The American Cancer Society site discusses risk factors that are uncertain or under research.


While there is no screening for pancreatic cancer you may undergo a CT, Ultrasound, and/or MRI if your physician suspects this disease.

Other diagnostic tests:

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographyERCP-a dye is injected into your bile ducts and they are examined with a scope as air is blown into the ducts.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-EUSa scope with an ultrasound device is passed through the stomach into the duodenum to take pictures. It may also collect biopsy specimens.
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography-PTCa needle is inserted into the liver from outside the body and a tube is threaded into the bile ducts. Dye is injected into the ducts to detect blockages.

If a diagnosis confirms the cancer then further tests may be ordered to stage the disease and determine if it has spread. A CA19-19 blood test may be ordered to monitor your response to treatment.

Basic staging per the Mayo Clinic:

  • Resectable. All the tumor nodules can be removed.
  • Locally advanced. The tumor can no longer be removed with surgery because the cancer has spread to tissues around the pancreas or into the blood vessels.
  • Metastatic. At this stage, the cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the lungs and liver.

For further staging information, including The American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM, numerical staging, see The American Cancer Society site.

Current Treatment for Exocrine (Pancreatic) Cancer:

  • Surgery (resection)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Targeted Gene Therapy

Battling Books:

100 Q & A About Pancreatic Cancer by Eileen O’Reilly M.D.

My Journey with Pancreatic Cancer by Calvin E. Rains Sr. (2006)

Pancreatic Cancer in the News:

ScienceDaily, January 9, 2008. Pancreatic Cancer: The smaller the tumor, the better your chances, study shows. “The odds of surviving cancer of the pancreas increase dramatically for patients whose tumors are smallest, according to a new study by researchers at Saint Louis University and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston — the first study to specifically evaluate the link between tumor size and survival rates for one of the most common and deadly cancers.”


The Clinical Trials Database is the largest resource of clinical trials for pancreatic cancer in the world.

PanCAN, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “Working Together for a Cure”

The National Pancreas Foundation. Support, Education and Research.

Treatment Of Pancreatic Cancer Has Saved Middle Aged People

May 25, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

By: Riley Hendersen

Pancreas lies horizontally behind the stomach. It serves to release enzymes that help digestion, and hormones that serve to regulate carbohydrates metabolism. It helps regulating the sugar level (glucose) of your body.

Pancreatic cancer spreads very fast and it is difficult to spot it, therefore, it is a major cause of death among cancer illnesses. It is a cancer that spreads very rapidly to other parts and organs of the body, making surgical intervention useless in protecting the patient from death.

How does cancer develop in your pancreas? Most tumors form in the cells that produce digestive enzymes. These tumors that are called adenocarcinomas account for nearly 95% of cancer pancreatic.

Endocrine tumors that form in the islet cells are less common. Upon existence, they produce too much hormone. Very serious are the ampullary cancers that form in the ampulla of Vater, it is where your bile and pancreatic ducts are emptied into your small intestine. These tumors when blocking the bile duct, lead to jaundice.

The developing of pancreatic cancer happens when the DNA is damaged, and the growth and division of healthy cells becomes uncontrolled. Thus, a tumor is formed which is a formation of malignant cells.

A small number of people develop this cancer due to genetic predisposition. In 90% of the cases environmental factors, lifestyle, smoking, diet, and chemical exposure lead to the formation of cancer.

According to surveys, black men and women are at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer, being overweight and working with petroleum compounds also play a risk factor.

How do you suspect that you may have developed cancer in your pancreas? First of all, you lose your appetite, develop sharp abdominal pain, suddenly lose weight, and have jaundice, yellowing of the skin. It is important to mention Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that infect your mucus and your stomach. In many cases it is asymptomatic.

Courvoisier’s law predicts that jaundice and a painless gallbladder that is distended are together indicative of pancreatic cancer. This cancer can be spotted while carrying out liver function tests, along with ultrasound and abdominal CT examinations. Endoscopic ultrasound is a painful, but effective way of spotting the tumor.

Patients having cancer in their pancreas have a poor prognosis due to the cancer not causing evident symptoms in the early stage. Mortality is around 99% in the United States, ranking cancer pancreatic as the number one fatal cancer in America.

This cancer may result in diabetes which turns out to be a life-long illness exposing the patient at discomfort and high risk of death if not treated properly. The American Cancer Society promotes high consumption of vegetables and fruits and lower consumption of red meat. Like with all other cancers, smoking proves a major factor in developing this cancer as well.

Prevention of cancer is vital. Long-term examinations have proved that taking vitamin D helps in decreasing the risk of cancer with 50%. Lately, younger generations have been affected, however, these patients have responded well to treatment in the UK, for example. There is hope for better treatment and diagnosis, these cases have proved the general statistics wrong. For further details, please consult the Pancreatic Cancer UK organization.

Article Source

For more information on cancer try visiting – a website that specializes in providing cancer related information and resources including information on pancreatic cancer.

Spanish singer Rocío Jurado dies after long illness

June 1, 2006 by  
Filed under CANCER

Rocío Jurado, a well-known and much loved Spanish singer from Andalucía, died at her Madrid home early on Thursday morning after a long illness. The 61-year-old singer had been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas two years ago and had been treated at Houston, Texas.Her brother and manager, Amador Mohedano, visibly affected by his sister’s death, made the announcement to the media waiting outside the singer’s home at La Moraleja. He added that she had died “peacefully” and “surrounded by her family as she wished”.


Rocío Mohedano Jurado was born in 1945 in the town of Chipiona, in the province of Cadiz, and started her career singing flamenco, especially fandangos, before branching out into a more popular style. In her youth she also worked as an actress in a number of Spanish-style musical films – extremely popular in their day. Her fame and success as a singer spread to Latin America and the USA..

In 1986 she was awarded the Andalusian Medal for exceptional merit and services to the region.


Source: SUR in English

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.