Category Archives: Healthy Living


New Food Trend, Koji

KojiConsumer behavior is beginning to change in regards to food and is embracing more traditional foods. They are also relearning ancient culinary methods such as fermenting. This could be one of the most positive food trends in many decades as these fermented foods are really important for optimal gut health and plays a crucial role in how the microbiome plays in our overall health and mental wellbeing.

Your microbiome is one of the environmental factors that drives genetic expression that turns the genes on and off, depending on which microbes are present.  According to research, many are deficient in beneficial gut bacteria.

Koji (Asperfillus oryzae) is now embraced by chefs around the world.  It is a type of fungus that has been used for millennia in China and Japan.  Asperfillus ferments and produces a number of enzymes known to be beneficial for animal and human health, which aids digestion and promotes a healthy gut.  Sake, soy sauce, rice vinegar and miso soup are Asian foods and beverages made with koji. Western chefs are experimenting and coming up with all sorts of new koji-fermented products.

Koji is used to tenderize meats, cutting the time required to dry and age the meat from 45 days to as little as 48 hours.  Koji looks a bit like rice pudding or little grains covered in powder. Over time the enzymes in the koji breaks down the connective tissue in steak and rids the meat of its moisture.  The meat is beginning to decompose, and that is what makes it so tender.

Another use for koji is to use it as a marinade for fish, chicken and vegetables.  Marinade for as little as 30 to 60 minutes and keep in mind that the food may burn faster than normal when cooked.  It’s salty enough so do not add extra salt. Koji can also be used as a salt substitute.

The fermentation process produces:

  • Beneficial healthy bacteria that promotes gut health
  • Beneficial enzymes
  • Certain nutrients, including B vitamins, biotin and folic acid
  • Increased bioavailability of minerals
  • Short-chain fatty acids that help improve your immune system function

Optimizing your gut health is a foundational step.  Most people have poor gut health and would benefit from eating more fermented foods.  Fiber serves as a prebiotic and is another important component. Ways that probiotic foods influence your health and well being are: enhancing nutritional content of the food, restoration of normal gut flora when taking antibiotics, immune system enhancement, improvement of symptoms of lactose intolerance, reduced risk of infection from pathogenic microorganisms, weight loss aid, reduced constipation or diarrhea, can help prevent allergies in children, antioxidant and detoxifying effects, reduced risk for helicobacter pylori, improvement of leaky gut, reduced urinary and female genital tract infections, improvement of premenstrual syndrome, improvement of and reduced risk for atopic dermatitis and acne, reduced risk for type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, improved mental health, mood control and behavior, improvement of autistic symptoms and reduced risk of brain diseases.

Optimizing your microbiome could be a potent disease prevention strategy.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Low-Dose Aspirin & Cancer

AspirinAna Sandolu has written another article explaining the use of low-dose aspirin and the prevention of cancer.  As well known, cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and death worldwide and is predicted to increase in the following years.  Making healthy lifestyle choices and getting tested if at risk are some prevention strategies. I have always been aware of taking a “baby” aspirin for heart maintenance but never as a possible prevention of cancer.  The new research is suggesting that a small dose of aspirin may help prevent the formation of cancer cells and explains how.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that cancer is one of the leading causes of death accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012 alone.  They recommend making healthy lifestyle and dietary choices as well as avoiding tobacco, alcohol and staying physically active with a diet of plenty of fruits and vegetables.

The idea that low-dose aspirin intake may also help to prevent cancer and inhibit the proliferation of cancer cell reinforces the idea through new research.  The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended in September of 2015, the daily use of a small dose of aspirin to help with cardiovascular disease as well as colorectal cancer.

This low dose of aspirin may very well inhibit cancer cell proliferation and metastasis.  The scientists from Oregon Health and Science University in collaboration with Oregon State University published their research results in the journal AJF-Cell Physiology.  They reported that the benefit of aspirin might be due to its effect on blood cells called platelets, rather than acting directly on tumor cells.  Our blood platelets also increase the levels of a certain protein that may support cancer cells and help them to spread. This oncoprotein is called c-MYC.  Its function is to regulate the expression over 15% of all the genes of the human body. The c-MYC regulator controls the life-and-death cycle of cells, the synthesis of proteins and the cells’ metabolism. Research has shown that in human cancers, this oncogene is overexpressed.

This work suggests that the anti-cancer action of aspirin might be in part during their transit in the blood; circulating tumor cells interact with platelets, which spur tumor cell survival by activating oncoproteins such as c-MYC.  This inhibition of platelets with aspirin therapy reduces the signaling between platelets and tumor cells, thus reducing tumor cell growth.

Blood platelets can play a protective role for the early cancer cells and aid metastasis.  Aspirin appears to interfere with that process and c-MYC may explain part of that mechanism.

It is also noted by the researchers that almost 1/3 of colon cancer patients and 42% of patients with pancreatic cancer had overexpression of the c-MYC oncoprotein.  The impact that aspirin has on blood platelets is just as effective in high doses as it is at low ones. The clinicians can weigh the risks and benefits of aspirin intake as well as reduce the risk of bleeding, which is a common side effect of ingesting too much aspirin.  It is emphasized the crucial role of physicians and healthcare professionals when considering even a low-dose aspirin intake.

The interaction between platelets and cancer cells is believed to occur early and the use of anti-platelet doses of aspirin might serve as a safe and efficacious preventive measure for patients at risk for cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon

healthy foods

Low Carb Food Swaps

healthy foodsCarbohydrates are mainstay for lots of people who say they love all those comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, donuts, white rice and bread.  These sure aren’t the foods for someone who has healthy eating on the mind. These carbohydrates are just plain bad for you.

Not all carbs are the same though.  A lot of the good ones provide nutrition, containing things like protein, iron, fiber and B-vitamins.  Simple and complex are the two types of carbohydrates. A good way to separate them is simply substandard and sinful or sketchy.  Just remember to avoid them, as they contain a lot of sugar. The complex carbs are the ones that are commendable, constructive and correct.  

Kim Larson, a registered dietitian from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, says that when it comes to carbs, the simple ones are composed of short-chain carbon molecules that basically head straight for your bloodstream and spike your blood sugar.  The complex carbs have longer chains of carbon molecules and take longer for your body to break them down, so the sugar isn’t dumped into our bloodstream.

As we have all learned, not all carbs are created equally!  Seven nutritionists were asked to submit their favorite low-carb “swaps” for those who want to lower their carb intake without giving up the flavor.  Some of their submissions were:

  • Sweet potato “toast”.  Skip the bread, peel the sweet potato, slice it up and pop the slices in the toaster.  Then you can top it with a number of flavors just to suit your own taste. Be inventive!
  • Mashed turnips.  They contain just 2/3rds of the calories and you get lots of fiber. Wash, peel and steam, or bake them like squash or traditional potatoes.
  • Fava bean flour.  These are known as broad beans and come in a pod similar to green beans.  Mature ones are bitter, so remove the pod and release the beans inside to use in many recipes, including salads. An excellent source of folic acid.
  • Lettuce wraps.  This process has been done for many years in restaurants, so individuals can do the same at home.  Cut down on the white bread and use the lettuce. Collard greens, kale, chard and lettuce leaves are a nutritious way to cut those calories on sandwiches.
  • Applewich.  Replace that bread with apple slices by cutting an apple so you have two circular slices ¼ inch thick, and spread each slice with nut butter.  Top with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon or cherries and press them together.
  • Whipped Cauliflower.  Potatoes have 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 21 grams of carbs.  Steamed cauliflower has 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and only 5 grams of carbs.  This yummy alternate to potatoes is the only option now for that mashed, buttery goodness.
  • Carrot “noodles”.  Carrot noodles work well as an alternative dish for a pasta substitute.  You get fewer carbs and the texture is crunchy.
  • Spaghetti Squash.  Another pasta option like this can cut carbs and provide you with potassium, folate and fiber.  Slice the squash length-wise, place with cut side up in baking dish with ½” of water. Salt and butter and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
  • Broccoli “rice”.  Toss broccoli florets into the processor then steam or sauté with a little salt and butter.  This brings a good serving of fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin K to lessen your diabetes and heart disease risks.

Umm. Lets give it a try.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Life Lessons From The Elders

ElderIn an article I found, 3 centenarians shared their life stories and words of wisdom on longevity. This was especially interesting to me since my father was 100 years old when he passed and my mother was nearing 98.  

They all agreed that a positive attitude, gratitude and appreciation for living is apparent and plays a major role in longevity.  Age is, after all, just a number. This became quite evident when the 3 elderly people were interviewed in the LifeHunters video. They each had their own story. Their birth years are 1915, 1913 and 1914.

Their strength and positivity are apparent, along with a will to live and a continued interest in and curiosity about the world around them.  While times were changing throughout their lives, they kept on living and adapting to the new phases of their lives. It was noted that they each looked far younger than their chronological years and definitely didn’t act their age.  Positive attitudes are undoubtedly to credit for helping them stay young at heart.

The mind has definite power over your body, according to evidence, and these centenarians exemplified this.  Don’t assume your body and mind will fail as you age or it will probably follow suit. Keep positive while challenging and welcoming changes.

None of these centenarians were health nuts, but they each understand the value of eating real food, which was the only option when they were born.  Home-cooked food was all they were offered. Plus the fact that most families raised their own food and many raised their own meat. Reverting back to this traditional way of eating is the best route for health and longevity.

A woman, at 116, revealed her dietary secret as eating three eggs (two of them raw) and raw minced meat daily.  All the others mentioned the importance of variations of intermittent fasting. In Japan, many who live to 100 and beyond believe in eating until you are only 80% full.

More agreed upon traits were having strong positive relationships, fond memories and living in the moment.  They were all able to look back on their life experiences and relationships with appreciation and gratitude.  Research shows that the types of social relationships someone enjoys can actually put them at risk for premature death.  About 50% increased likelihood for survival for participants with stronger social relationships. They expressed that the newness of possessions wears off just as the joy they bring you.  Experiences improve your sense of vitality, and being alive during the experience and when you reflect back on it.

Regardless of their health, they tend to have positive attitudes, optimism and a real zest for life. Their motto seems to be living in the moment, living for the day and having no regrets. They do not dwell on what they have lost but appreciate all the living they have done and have yet to do. Keeping active physically, mentally and socially will help them to stay young and healthy.

Helping others will come back to you hundreds-fold as well as being a lifelong learner.  They sincerely wish they had taken their studies more seriously early on in life. Educations early in life is regarded as a crucial point and correlated with a longer life.

Based on years of data the following is reported for those centenarians at age 70:

  • 37% were overweight
  • 8% were obese
  • 37% were smokers (for an average of 31 years)
  • 44% reported only moderate exercise
  • 20% never exercised at all

However, Israeli physician Nir Barzilai of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York emphasizes you should not disregard the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices.

The words of wisdom from these centenarians are “keep right on to the end of the road.”  Be independent as you can but don’t be reluctant to ask for help when you need it. Behave well to other people and show them respect.  Help them as much as you possible can, and it will be repaid hundred-folds.

It seems to me all the above advice from these centenarians should be valued by those of us approaching this stage of life.  What better advice to take than that experienced by someone who has actually lived it?

Dr Fredda Branyon


Jet Lag, Obesity & Pathways to Liver Cancer

Jet LagHepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, has nearly tripled since 1980, and obesity related liver disease is one of the driving forces behind the increasing number of cases.  Baylor College of Medicine researchers are now examining other lifestyle factors that may affect your health. By using mice, the scientists have shown that repeated jet lag increases both obesity related liver disease and the risk of liver cancer.  The Cancer Cell has published the study.

Liver cancer is rising worldwide and through human studies, we’ve seen that patients can progress from fatty liver disease to liver cancer without any middle steps such as cirrhosis, according to David Moore, a professor of molecular and cellular biology who led the study with Associate Professor Loning Fu, both at Baylor.  Studies in the Fu Lab found that chronically jet-lagged mice developed liver cancer in a very similar way as that described for obese humans.

Our bodies’ central circadian clock in the brain resets when we are exposed to light.  Traveling constantly through different time zones, working night shifts or pushing us to stay awake at the regular sleep time causes our central clock to be chronically disrupted.  This also extends to clocks in other tissues that are controlled by the central clock.

The researchers modeled the effects of chronic jet lag in normal mice who were fed a healthy diet by changing the times the lights went on and off during the night each week.  The mice gained weight and fat and developed fatty liver disease. This progressed to chronic inflammation and eventually to liver cancer in some of the cases.

Normal control of liver metabolism was lost on the jetlagged mice.  This included the buildup of fat and also increased production of bile acids, which are produced by the liver to help us digest our food.  Some studies linking high bile acid levels to liver cancer, in mice and humans, were done in earlier studies. Circadian clock disruption activated two nuclear receptors that help regulate liver bile acid metabolism.  A receptor called FXR, which keeps bile acid level in the liver within a normal physiological range in the jetlagged mice lacking the receptor, had higher bile acid levels and much more liver cancer. Those lacking a receptor called CAR, which regulates bile acid breakdown and known to promote liver cancer, did not get any liver tumors.

These receptors work in a similar manner in humans. The scientists did not directly study jetlag in humans, but there is evidence that sleep disruption increases both fatty liver disease and liver cancer risk in humans.

Studies show that more than 80% of the population in the U.S. adopts a lifestyle that leads to chronic disruption in their sleep schedules.  This has reached an epidemic level in other developed countries and coupled with the increase in obesity and liver cancer risk.

They hope to continue their research to further examine if drugs interacting with the nuclear receptors can help to prevent jet lag from affecting bile acid levels in the liver with a goal of using them as pharmaceutical strategies to prevent liver cancer in humans.

Bottom line results are that chronic jet lag was sufficient to induce liver cancer.  Results definitely show that chronic circadian disruption alone leads to malfunction of these receptors, so maintaining internal physiological homeostasis is very important for liver tumor suppression.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Graphene to Detect Cancer Cells


Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have shown that by interfacing brain cells onto graphene, they can differentiate a single hyperactive cancerous cell from a normal cell, pointing the way to developing a simple, noninvasive tool for early cancer diagnosis.  This system is able to detect the level of activity of an interfaced cell, according to Vikas Berry, associate professor and head of chemical engineering at UIC. Berry led the research along with Ankit Mehta, assistant professor of clinical neurosurgery in the UIC College of Medicine.

Graphene is very sensitive to whatever happens on its surface and is the thinnest known material.  The nanomaterial is composed of a single layer of carbon atoms that are linked in a hexagonal chicken-wire pattern.  All of the atoms share a cloud of electron that move freely about the surface. Berry also said that the cell’s interface with graphene then rearranges the charge distribution in the graphene and modifies the energy of atomic vibration as detected by Raman spectroscopy.  She refers this to a powerful workhorse technique that is routinely used to study graphene.

The atomic vibration energy in graphene’s crystal lattice does differ, depending on whether it’s in contact with a cancer cell or a normal cell.  This is because the cancer cell’s hyperactivity leads to a higher negative charge on its surface and the release of more protons.

The electrons in graphene’s electron cloud are pushed away by the electric field around the cell.  This changes the vibration energy of the carbon atoms. Raman mapping with a resolution of 300 nanometers, allowing characterization of the activity of a single cell, can pinpoint this change.

The journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces published the report that looked at cultured human brain cells, compared normal astrocytes to their cancerous counterpart and the highly malignant brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme.  They are now studying the technique in a mouse model of cancer with results that look very promising. Down the road the experiments would be with patient biopsies.

They could use this technique to see if the tumor relapses once a patient has brain tumor surgery.  They would need a cell sample that they could interface with graphene and look to see if cancer cells are still present.  This same technique might also work to differentiate between other types of cells or the activity of cells.

They may be able to use it with bacteria to see if the strain is Gram-positive or Gram-negative and might be able to use it to detect sickle cells.  Berry and other coworkers introduced nanoscale ripples in graphene earlier this year causing it to conduct differently in perpendicular directions, useful for electronics.  The graphene was wrinkled by draping it over a string of rod-shaped bacteria and vacuum-shrinking the germs.

The earlier work was essentially flipped over so that instead of laying graphene on cells, they laid cells on graphene and studied graphene’s atomic vibrations.

Co-authors on the study are Bijentimala Keisham and Phong Nguyen of UIC chemical engineering and Arron Cole of UIC neurosurgery.

Dr Fredda Branyon


E-Cigarettes Harmful

E-Cigarettes Harmful

There was a surprising article written by Honor Whiteman that revealed the harm that e-cigarettes can have for our oral health.  They are marketed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, but when it comes to our oral health, new research suggests that vaping may be just as harmful as smoking.

An article was published in the journal Oncotarget revealing that researchers had found the chemicals present in electronic cigarette vapor were just as damaging, and in some cases even more damaging to the mouth cells, as tobacco smoke.  This can lead to an array of oral health problems that include gum disease, tooth loss and even mouth cancer.

The battery-operated e-cigarette devices contain a heating device and a cartridge that holds a liquid solution. The device vaporizes the liquid when the user “puffs” on the device resulting in vapor being inhaled.  E-cigarettes do not contain the highly harmful tobacco, a highly harmful component of conventional cigarettes, but they do contain nicotine and other chemicals, including flavoring agents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the e-cigarette usage has increased in recent years, especially among the young people.  About 16% of high-school students in 2015 reported using the devices where only 1.5% used the devices in 2011. There is little known about the long term effects of vaping on the health, but e-cigarettes are considered to be safer than conventional smoking by many.

The research team exposed gum tissue of nonsmokers to either tobacco or menthol-flavored e-cigarette vapor and found that tobacco-flavored vapor contained 16 milligrams of nicotine, while the menthol flavor contained 13-16 milligrams of nicotine or no nicotine.  All e-cigarette vapors caused damage to gum tissue cells comparable to that caused by exposure to tobacco smoke. When the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which is turn aggravate stress within cells and result in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.

Even though it is a fact that nicotine is a known contributor to gum disease, the e-cigarette flavoring appears to exacerbate the cell damage caused by e-cigarette vapor, with menthol-flavored vapor causing the most harm.  

Another study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology revealed a high rate of mouth cell death with exposure to e-cigarette vapor over just 3 days and killed 53% of mouth cells.  E-cigarette vapor was pumped into the chamber at a rate of two 5-second puffs every 60 seconds for 15 minutes a day and performed over 1, 2 or 3 days.  Upon analyzing the vapor-exposed epithelial cells under a microscope, the researchers identified a significant increase in the rate of cell damage and death.  It was found that with exposure to e-cigarette vapor, the number of dead or dying cells rose to 18%, 40% and 53% over 1, 2 and 3 days, respectively. This leads researchers to believe that their findings are a cause for concern as over the longer term, it may also increase the risk of cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Chili Pepper Compound & Cancer


chilli pepper

An article written by Ana Sandoiu reveals that research has identified different subtypes of breast cancer that respond to varying treatment types.  The so-called triple-negative breast cancer is especially aggressive and difficult to treat but new research may have uncovered a molecule that slows down this type of cancer.

The most prevalent form of cancer in women around the world is breast cancer, with almost 1.7 million new cases diagnosed in 2012.  This is also the most common form of cancer in women in the U.S., regardless of the race or ethnicity.

There is genetic research that has enabled scientists to classify breast cancer into subtypes that respond differently to different kinds of treatment and are categorized according to the presence or absence of three receptors known to promote breast cancer.  Estrogen, progesterone and the epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) are those receptors.

Those types of cancer that test negatively for HER2, estrogen and progesterone are called triple-negative breast cancer.  Triple-negative cancer is more difficult to treat according to some studies, so chemotherapy is the only option.

There is new research from the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany that tested the effects of a spicy molecule on cultivated tumor cells of this aggressive type of cancer.  Dr. Hanns Hatt and Dr. Lea Weber were the researchers who collaborated with several institutions in Germany. The effect of an active ingredient commonly found in chili or pepper called capsaicin, was tested on SUM149PT cell culture, which is a model for triple-negative breast cancer.  It has been suggested that several transient receptor potential (TRP) channels influence cancer cell growth, which motivated the scientists. The TRP channels are membranous ion channels that conduct calcium and sodium ions and can be influenced by several stimuli including temperature or pH changes.  The olfactory receptor TRPV1 is one of the TRP channels that play a significant role in the development of several diseases and received a lot of attention from researchers. Researches aimed to investigate the expression of TRP channels in breast cancer tissue, as well as to analyze and understand how TRPV1 could be used in the breast cancer therapy.

Several typical olfactory receptors were found in the cultivated cells.  These are proteins that bind smell molecules together and are located on olfactory receptor cells lining the nose.  The TRPV1 receptor appeared very frequently. This receptor is normally found in the 5th cranial nerve called the trigeminal nerve.  The receptor is activated by the spicy molecule capsaicin as well as by helional, which is a chemical compound giving the scent of fresh sea breeze.

The team found TRPV1 in the tumor cells of 9 different samples from the breast cancer patients.  They then added capsaicin and helional to the culture for several hours or days, which activated the TRPV1 receptor in the cell culture.  This resulted in the cancer cells dying more slowly. Tumor cells died in larger numbers and those remaining were not able to move as quickly as before; suggesting their ability to metastasize was reduced.

Their conclusions were that an intake of capsaicin through food or inhalation would be insufficient to treat triple-negative cancer but specially designed drugs might help.  By switching on the TRPV1 reception with those drugs, it might constitute a new treatment approach for this type of cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Cancer Cells Hijack DNA Repair Networks

Cancer Cells Hijack DNA Repair Networks

The university of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) scientists have completed research that has revealed how cancer cells hijack DNA repair pathways to prevent telomeres, the end caps of chromosomes, from shortening and allowing the tumor to spread.  The findings of this research are published in the journal Cell Reports.

When a cell is formed, a countdown clock begins ticking that determines how long the cell can live.  This is the telomere, a series of repeating DNA letters at the ends of each chromosome in the cell.  But, the cancer cell cleverly hijack this telomere clock and reset it, thus lengthening the telomere every time it shortens.  The cell is then lead into thinking it is still young and can divide, spreading the tumor.

Most of the cancers do this by increasing the activity of an enzyme that lengthens telomeres, however, approximately 15% of cancers use a different mechanism for resetting the clock, called alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT).  There is also evidence that suggests tumors that activate the ALT pathway are aggressive and more resistant to treatment.  ALT was identified close to two decades ago and identified how this mechanism works and has proven elusive.

By identifying the parts that the cancer cell tweaks to reset the countdown time might provide targets for developing new cancer drugs or making existing ones more effective, according to senior author Roderick O’Sullivan, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology and chemical biology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and a member of UPCI.

The team used a recently developed technique called proximity dependent biotinylation (BioID), which allowed them to quickly identify proteins that were physically close to, and potentially associated with, telomere lengthening in cancer cells.  When they compared cancer cells in which either telomerase or ALT were active, the BioID technique identified 139 proteins that were unique to ALT-activated cells.  The team took a closer look and one enzyme, DNA polymerase, took them by surprise.

They expected to see DNA repair proteins but saw Poln was activated only in cells that were damaged by UV light that they did use in their experiments.  Knowing the molecular players in the ALT pathway opens a whole new area of research as well as potential drug targets.

The co-first authors of the study were Laura Garcia-Exposito, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in O’Sullivan’s lab, and Elodie Bournique, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Jean-Sebastien Hoffmann at the Cancer Research Center of Toulouse, France.

The research was funded by grants from the Competitive Medical Research Fund and Stimulating Pittsburgh Research in Geroscience at the University of Pittsburgh, National Institutes of Health grants and La Ligue contre le Cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon




Alcohol-Related Cancer Deaths

Alcohol-Related Cancer Deaths

It is predicted that about 135,000 cancer deaths will be reported in the UK by 2035, according to a new report by Sheffield University and commissioned by Cancer Research UK.  By 2035 the UK could see about 7,100 cancer deaths every year that are associated with alcohol, along with a tremendous amount of money spent for cancer.  Of the types that are involved esophageal cancer is set to see the largest increase, followed by bowel cancer, mouth and throat cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer.  They are also forecasting that there will be over 1.2 million hospital admissions for cancer over the next 20 years.  Results were based on an analysis that assumes alcohol drinking trends will continue as they have seen over the last 40 years, and accounts for recent falls in alcohol consumption, including among the young people.

This report suggests that the more alcohol an individual drinks, the higher the risk of cancer.  The guidelines for the UK government were published earlier where they advise both men and women to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.  About 9 in 10 people are unaware of the link between alcohol and cancer.

It also examined the impact of introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol in England and found that over 20 years a 50 pence minimum price per units of alcohol could reduce the deaths that are linked to alcohol by around 7,200, including about 670 cancer deaths.

The Director of Prevention at Cancer Research UK, Allison Cox, said that these new figures reveal the devastating impact that alcohol will have over the coming years.  It is hugely important that the public is aware of the link between alcohol and cancer and to learn what they can do to improve their risk.  If they are to change the nation’s drinking habits and make an effort to mitigate the impact alcohol will have, then national health campaigns are needed to provide clear information about the health risks of drinking alcohol.

The chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, said that these figures show the serious consequences for individuals, the NHS and society if the UK government continues to ignore the consequences of the nation’s drinking.  The report that MUP provided will save lives, including those lost to cancer and to ease the burden on their health service.  This would also leave moderate drinkers and prices in pubs and bars unaffected.

They also need mandatory health information on the labels of all alcoholic products, to inform the public of the link between alcohol and cancer and the new low-risk drinking guidelines.  They believe that the public has the right to know about how their drinking will impact their health so that they are empowered to make informed choices.

It seems that this is valuable information that the U.S. should also jump on.  Informing the U.S. citizens could cut down on our cancers here in the states.  Saving lives should be a priority and cutting back on alcohol is a good place to start.

                                                                                                                          Dr Fredda Branyon