Cycling to chemo: exercise during cancer treatment

Forget the anti-oxidant–rich red wine and chocolate. If you really want something that’s going to prevent cancer, start exercising. Not only does exercise help to prevent a raft of life-threatening conditions such obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, and play a role in keeping mental health in check by preventing depression and anxiety, but it can also be both a preventive and remedial factor in cancer.

Exercise can reduce the risk of developing a range of cancers including colon cancer, prostate, lung and gastrointestinal cancer in men, and breast and endometrial cancer in women. It can also improve long-term prognosis for cancer survivors.

There is now also emerging evidence that maintaining or commencing exercise as soon as you are diagnosed can be beneficial. This means that the common advice to take it easy and relax is actually completely wrong. Even while undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, people should do as much exercise as they can to reduce symptoms like fatigue and improve physical fitness and functioning.

A few days ago, ABC Health & Wellbeing published a piece I wrote for them about exercise during cancer treatment. Check it out here.

Aspirin keeps stomach cancer at bay

Aspirin (Photo credit: tomazstolfa)

Taking aspirin a few times each week, or regularly for years decreases the risk of stomach cancer.

The ancient Greeks were well aware of the power of willow bark powder to relieve headaches, pain and fever. But not even Hippocrates, widely considered the father of Western medicine and whose records speak of the use of willow bark in ancient times, would have been aware of aspirin’s cancer-fighting properties.

In recent years, aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to reduce death rate from multiple types of cancer by around 20 per cent. Studies have found that aspirin decreases the risk of developing cancers of the breast, skin, colon and oesophagus – the muscular tube that delivers food from the mouth into the stomach. Continue reading “Aspirin keeps stomach cancer at bay”

Michael Douglas, oral sex and cancer — the facts about HPV

English: Michael Douglas At just 8000 genetic letters in length, the human papillomavirus (HPV) may be small — compare this with the 3 billion–odd letters of the human genome — but it can pack a mean punch. Some members of the HPV family of viruses are oncoviruses, meaning that they can lead to cancer. But if you’ve heard of HPV’s cancer-causing properties, you’ve probably heard it in the context of cervical cancer. Yesterday, Michael Douglas announced that his throat cancer was the result of infection with HPV. This afternoon, I was asked to write a piece for the Conversation about Douglas’s ‘cunnilingus caused my cancer’ confession — read it here.

Odds and ends – three new podcasts

English: Studio microphone Equation Audio F.20...
Image via Wikipedia

December was a busy month, and it is about time I linked to some of the fruits of my labour. Below are links to three podcasts I recorded for Up Close. Together, they cover a diverse range of topics from lung cancer and fatty liver disease, to the human impact on global fish stocks. Enjoy!

Peak Fish: Rising human consumption of seafood and its implications

In this episode, fisheries scientists Tim Dempster and Reg Watson discuss the pressures on wild fish stocks and debate the role of aquaculture in feeding an increasingly populous world. Reg has a phenomenal list of publications on his website – a fantastic, and incredibly sobering resource for anyone interested in the human impact on global fisheries. Continue reading “Odds and ends – three new podcasts”