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Quigleys CornerGerald Quigley

QUIGLEY'S CORNER:
Welcome to Quigley's Corner. Every month you can count on Gerald Quigley to deliver an opinion, report, interpretation or health message on cancer or cancer related issues, based on reports he reviews through Medline and other agencies.

These reports are easy to read, easy to understand, and contain appropriate reference if readers wish to delve into the issues further.

AUGUST 2009: Healthy Habits Pay Off
Most older, long-term cancer survivors struggle with good health habits, such as exercise and a proper diet, a new study shows. Those who did exercise and eat well after their treatment, however, tended to have more vitality and a better quality of life.

The findings point to the potential negative impact of obesity, and the positive effect of regular exercise and a healthy diet, on physical quality of life outcomes among older, long-term cancer survivors.

The study examined data from more than 750 people who had survived breast, prostate or colorectal cancer for five years or more. All were 65 or older.

Most people expressed interest in pursuing healthy habits, but only 7 per cent actually met national guidelines for exercise and diet. The majority reported exercising an average of 10 minutes a week - far short of the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week. Obese survivors had worse quality of life.

Numerous studies have linked healthy lifestyle choices with better outcomes after a cancer diagnosis. In one recent study, people who had head and neck cancer appeared to have better survival if they exercised, improved their diet and avoided smoking and heavy alcohol consumption.

JULY 2009: Exercise Ladies!
After age 30, exercising for more than an hour a week may help cut a woman's chances of developing breast cancer, according to a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual meeting in Seattle.

The study revealed that the odds of developing breast cancer did not appear to change in relation to exercise levels between ages 10 and 30, but women above age 30 significantly cut their chances of developing breast cancer if they were more active.

An average amount of exercise was defined as 60 minutes per week, so anyone in the study exercising less than 60 minutes was below average, above 60 minutes was above average, and anyone that considered themselves highly competitive chose that category.

Fewer women who classified themselves as highly competitive between the ages of 30 and 50 developed breast cancer, compared to women who were less physically active.
Likewise, fewer women who classified themselves as highly competitive at age 50 or older developed breast cancer when compared to women who exercised less than 60 minutes per week.

The take home message here is that accumulating greater physical activity after the age of 30 may play a role of reducing the risk of developing breast cancer.

JUNE 2009: Cardio to the Max
This month's news focuses on the importance of physical activity in the cancer journey.

A new study now shows that treatment for cancer does not hamper cardiovascular fitness, regardless of the type of cancer.

Researchers from the Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington DC reached this conclusion after giving a three-minute step test to 49 diverse women who had recently survived cancer.

What is really exciting is that cardiovascular fitness is not affected by the expected culprits - cancer treatment, type, duration or time since treatment. That isn't to say there aren't side effects of some treatments that can hinder physical activity, but when it comes to actual cardiovascular fitness as measured in a clinical situation, many of the standard treatments didn't have a role.

One third of the study partcipants said they lived sedentary lives, and the others described themselves as physically active. About 71 per cent of the participants completed the step test.

Short and sweet, but so very important!
Keep well

MAY 2009: Sea Bands! (Anyone else remember these guys?)
Accupressure wristbands might help cancer patients experience almost a 25% less nausea during radiation treatments.

This finding, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, also discounted the common belief that such non-western medical treatments act more as a placebo than an actual pain reliever.

Even though the researchers acknowledged that the placebo effect does exist, and even though they attempted to manipulate patient information to infuence the outcomes, the wristbands reduced nausea symptoms.

The wristbands are called SeaBands, and are commercially available from pharmacies.
The wristbands put pressure on a "nausea point" identified by traditional Chinese acupuncture. The pressure acts to change the flow of universal chi energy, according to Eastern belief.

The study involved 88 people who experienced nausea after radiation treatments for cancer. Some were given wristbands to wear, and the others were not. About half of those in the wristband group were also given information that explicitly said that the wristbands cut down on nausea, whereas handouts given to the others with wristbands contained more neutral information.

Those with wristbands experienced a 24% decrease in nausea, regardless of which set of information they were given before the experiment. The group without wristbands reported just a 5% lessening of nausea.

APRIL 2009: One order of broccoli with garlic, coming right up!
Eating about 75 grams a day of broccoli appears to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers and probably stomach cancer.

Gastric cancer joins a long list of malignancies for which studies have shown a reduced risk associated with a diet that contains broccoli - including cancer of the esophagus, bladder, skin and lung. The chemical responsible for the protective effect is sulphoraphane, first described as a potent antibiotic against Helicobacter pylori. Broccoli, which is rich in sulphoraphane, reduces levels of H.pylori, a bacterium that is closely associated with the risk of stomach damage and gastric cancer.

H.pylori is a known carcinogen. It is formed when you chew broccoli. When you break the cell, the chemical is formed. Sulphoraphane then causes the liver to produce an enzyme that is important in decativating cancer-causing agents. People who eat more broccoli tune up their liver and other cells to destroy cancer-causing agents.

Garlic has the same effect. So, increasing the amount of plants in the diet causes production of a valuable bioactive chemical.

 

MARCH 2009: Calcium the other Big "C."
High dietary intake of calcium may reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer. Why calcium should influence cancer risk differently in women versus men isn't clear. Speculation is that hormonal or metabolic factors contribute to this difference.

Research into this finding relied on data from nearly 500,000 men and women who participated in a study in the United States. In both men and women, dairy food and calcium intakes were inversley associated with cancers of the digestive system.

We need about 1,200 mg of calcium daily, and in adults, this equates to about three cups of daily products. Other sources of calcium include sardines and green, leafy vegetables.
Calcium recommendations should be met by both dietary sources and supplements. Calcium and vitamin D are highly correlated in the diet, and it's difficult to isolate a single component in this finding.

The combination of calcium and vitamin D is important, since vitamin D facilitates calcium's absorption by the digestive system. The skin makes vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.

 

FEBUARY 2009: Be Happy, Grow Old.
How you live affects your chances of developing cancer after age 65, new research suggests.

Not surprising, tobacco use and lack of physical activity were the usual suspects in promoting cancer, but alcohol consumption was not.

Unhappiness also appears to boost your risk for cancer in old age. About 80 per cent of all cancers are diagnosed in the elderly, and more than 80 per cent of known risk factors are potentially preventable.

Understanding the risk factors of cancer may allow clinicians to make recommendations to their older patients on how to reduce their chances of developing future cancers.
Contributions from many lifestyle, behavioural and demographic variables influence the risk of breast, lung, colon and prostate cancers among seniors.

We see associations of cigarette smoking with lung cancer. Moderate physical activities are capable of decreasing cancer risk, as well as general optimism in life.
Contrary to past studies, alcohol use was not linked to cancer risk. This was because alcohol was used only moderately by the elderly.

Other interesting associations are increased risk of breast cancer for those women afraid to go to the doctor to investigate health problems, and a decreased risk of breast and lung cancers for those who never lose their temper.

A general view of the results leads to a hypothesis that cancer risk increases for individuals who are not completely happy in different aspects of their life.

 

JANUARY 2009: Happy New Year!
Happy New Year to you and your family, and my wish for a successful 2009!
Here is my bit for January:

The largest prostate cancer screening program in the history of the United States is showing high compliance and consistent results. In an initiative which may help Australian authorities understand the benefits of screening in Aussie males over 50, 3-year data from the program shows that screening consistently detected new cases of prostate cancer, and that these became less and less aggressive as the screening program progressed.

The screening involves PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood tests, and digital rectal examinations. Bearing in mind the average bloke's concern about both these tests (especially the latter!), 85 per cent of the 38,000 randomly chosen men were still complying with the testing regime after three years.

As in Australia, there has been much debate in the U.S. about PSA screening. It is puzzling that authorities just can't get agreement on correct procedures. If the male patient is the focus here, if must be easy to put professional egos to one side, and explore common ground as to the benefits, and discuss carefully any objections to the screening process.
It's time for the Aussie male to get a fair go!!

That my editorial to start 2009!. It reflects my ongoing frustration that professional bodies put their own interests first. Who cares about the average potential patient. Let's detect and screen, and reduce the actual number of patients by detecting early!


ABOUT GERALD QUIGLEY:
Gerald Quigley is a practicing Community Pharmacist, as well as an Accredited Herbalist. These joint qualifications have given Gerald a unique overview of health from a holistic perspective. What this means to you is that Gerald just doesn't look at the symptomatic relief of a health challenge, but offers support through the recovery process with advice on complementary medicines, integrating them with any prescribed medicines, to encourage a healthy outcome. Gerald believes that the current system of symptomatic treatment only, leaves a gap in the recovery phase. Our health is something we value and, just like servicing a car, needs constant fine tuning in times of illness and exposure to constant stress, whatever the type.

Gerald is concerned that as newer medicines are released, patients need more and more information to help them understand the medicine's actions and expected outcomes. What medicine can be taken with what vitamins and nutritional support, are they safe in the long term, are they any better than the tried and true medicines that have been around for a long time... these are questions which Gerald is constantly challenged by. The information on this website will not, and never should, take the place of direct consultation with a health professional. The information is a guide only, to help you understand the complex health issues which confront all of us.

 

PROFESSIONAL DETAILS:
Bachelor of Pharmacy
Diploma of Botanical Medicine
Post Graduate Diploma of Ayurvedic Herbology
Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Pharmacy Practice

Member of:

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
Australian College of Pharmacy Practice
National Herbalists Association of Australia
Australian Traditional Medicine Society
The Assoc. of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia
Australian Homeobotanical Institute of Australia
Australian College of Environmental and Nutritional Medicine

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