Preventing the #1 Cancer in Men
June 2013Dear Get In Front Supporter,
June is Men’s Health Month and at CPIC we’re working on important studies to help men reduce their risk of cancers. This issue of In Front includes some of our prostate cancer prevention findings for you to both know and share with others. It also features some of our other work to understand cancer risk, including a new study of body fat distribution, our recent blog post on body shapes, and a video of a CPIC scientist talking about neighborhoods. We know we can reduce our risk of some cancers by being physically active, which is what world-class dancers will be doing later this year in a performance to benefit CPIC, as you’ll also read about below.
June is Men's Health Month: What CPIC Says about the #1 Cancer in Men
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and CPIC research is helping us understand what men can do to reduce their risk. Led by CPIC Research Scientist Esther John, Ph.D., the San Francisco Bay Area Prostate Cancer Study has shown that certain methods of food preparation, as well as calcium supplement consumption among some groups of men, may impact prostate cancer risk. “Our findings from the San Francisco Bay Area Prostate Cancer Study suggest that avoiding the consumption of fish and meat that are charred from broiling or pan-frying may be a practical way of reducing the risk of prostate cancer,” says Dr. John. “Additionally, other findings from this study suggest that men may reduce their risk of prostate cancer by lowering their calcium intake, particularly those who are genetically low calcium absorbers.” Of the most common cancers in men, prostate cancer is followed by lung and colorectal cancers. To reduce risk of lung and colorectal cancers, men should avoid smoking and get screened for colorectal cancer regularly starting at age 50.
The Pipeline: Does Distribution of Body Fat Increase Risk of Breast and Colon Cancers?
As part of a multi-institutional collaboration, CPIC Research Scientist Iona Cheng, Ph.D., recently received funding to study the role of obesity and the distribution of body fat in relation to risk of breast and colorectal cancers. Focusing on a multiethnic population, Dr. Cheng and her study partners will measure body fat and also identify lifestyle behaviors, molecular biomarkers, genes and gut bacteria that may predict body fat distribution and cancer risk. To measure body fat, they will use imaging methods, including DXA – which uses x-ray technology to measure body fat percentage - and MRI – which uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. To learn more about Dr. Cheng and her research focus, watch this video.
Apple- or Pear-shaped: Which is Better for Cancer Prevention?
Once again, as part of our partnership with the Stanford Cancer Institute, a CPIC scientist has contributed to the widely read Stanford School of Medicine’s blog, Scope. Last month, CPIC Director of Research Ann Hsing, Ph.D., wrote a piece on the link between body shape and cancer risk. In her post, she defines two common body types: apple-shaped and pear-shaped. People with pear-shaped bodies have “larger thighs relative to a smaller waist, with most of their fat deposited in the lower body,” says Dr. Hsing. “In contrast, people who have “apple-shaped” bodies are heavier in the middle and have their body fat accumulated around the waist.” Dr. Hsing’s post explains how these body shapes differently impact cancer risk.
Behind the Scenes at CPIC: Research Scientist Shares About Her Interest in “Place” and Health
Meet Salma Shariff-Marco, Ph.D. Dr. Shariff-Marco recently sat down with CPIC Communications staff to talk about some of her ongoing work. Through her work, she focuses on analyzing cancer disparities by finding out why some groups get cancer more than others or are less likely to survive after a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Shariff-Marco is interested most in studying how certain aspects of neighborhoods may impact cancer risk and survival. For example, in collaboration with CPIC’s Drs. Scarlett Gomez and Theresa Keegan, she studies factors such as the average income and education level in a neighborhood, as well as that neighborhood’s landscape, ethnic makeup, and available community resources. They focus in on how these factors may affect a person’s cancer risk or shape a person’s opportunities for or barriers to optimal survival after a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Shariff-Marco is also studying how racial/ethnic discrimination may influence cancer disparities, and has particular expertise in measuring self-reported racial/ethnic discrimination, after having developed a new survey tool during her tenure at the National Cancer Institute.
Save the Date for the 2nd Annual Get In Front Performance and Party!
After last year’s sold out Get In Front performance, which raised nearly $150,000 for CPIC cancer prevention research, dancers from the San Francisco Ballet and other legendary Bay Area dance companies will again generously volunteer their talents in the upcoming Get In Front 2013 performance. It will take place on November 12, 2013 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. This year, organizers Garen Scribner, James Sofranko and Margaret Karl are increasing the event’s fundraising goal to $250,000 and promise an even bigger and more thrilling event. The evening will include an after party for all ticket holders and a VIP pre-performance reception, in addition to the world class dance performance. All proceeds will support CPIC’s cancer prevention mission. “All these dancers who are young and healthy can see a future where cancer is no longer a problem and want to help us get to that place by donating their time,” CPIC CEO Sally Glaser, Ph.D., has said. “It's unbelievably inspiring."
© Cancer Prevention Institute of California