Category Archives: Cancer Prevention Products

Leukemia risk and Lifestyle modifications

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

leukemiaJune is Men’s Health Month. Let’s celebrate it by enhancing public awareness of preventable health problems especially some cancers, and by encouraging early detection of cancer among men and boys. Today, let’s tackle a type of cancer that that you might not know a lot about—leukemia—with a focus on its risk factors.

Leukemia is a malignant cancer of the blood cells and develops in the bone marrow. According to National Cancer Institute, estimated new cases of leukemia in 2014 will total about 52,380, while death in 2014 will be about 24,090. There were an estimated 302,800 people living with leukemia in the United States in 2011.

What causes leukemia is still not completely known, although it has been shown that exposure to large amounts of radiation or certain toxic chemical such as benzene increases the risk of leukemia. Noticeably, in a recent publication from NIH-AARP diet and health study that examined 493,188 individuals, findings revealed that the risk of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML, one of four main types of leukemia) is directly associated with smoking and obesity, but inversely associated with vigorous physical activity, female sex and years of education. Therefore, the study suggests that lifestyle factors may affect the risk of this disease.

Given this, let’s approach this topic based on two categories: controllable and non-controllable risk factors for leukemia.

Controllable risk factors

1.  Smoking: Smoking releases thousands of chemicals including many toxic substances and carcinogens. Among them is benzene, which is a known carcinogen to human and known risk factor of leukemia. Cigarette smoke is a major source of benzene exposure.

2.  Obesity: As mentioned earlier, NIH-AARP’s large population based epidemiologic research has demonstrated that obesity, measured by a high body mass index (BMI, 30 indicating obesity versus <25 kg/m2 normal), positively influences the risk of CML. Plus, obesity is a risk factor for cancer of breast, prostate, and colon as well as other cancers.

3.  Radiation exposure: Doses of radiation, including ionizing UV radiation from sunlight and tanning bed as well as from medical treatment, may add up.

4.  Diet: Poor nutrition or malnutrition leads to various diseases and increased risk for some cancers, although no associations of various dietary factors with leukemia was found in NIH-AARP study. Exposure to benzene from beverages may constitute a minor contribution to the risk, but it is clear that foods can influence both strength of the immune system and growth of cancer cells.

Non-controllable factors

1.  Gender: Men seem to have a higher incident of leukemia than women.

2.  Age: More than 65 percent of people diagnosed with leukemia are over the age of 55.

3.  Race: Leukemia is more common among white people than other races.

4.  Genetic factor: Although most leukemia have no family link, incidents cases among siblings or first degree relatives of some parents with leukemia may still put you at an increased risk for developing this disease. In addition, certain genetic disorders such as Down syndrome may also be a risk factor.

5.  Environmental factor: Specifically the carcinogen benzene is to be avoided. Long-term exposure to or contact with products containing benzene raises the risk of leukemia, whether it is occupation-related or in daily life. Benzene can be inhaled from the air. It is found in petroleum, cigarette smoke, industrial workplaces, and even in home environments where it may arise from some plastics, paints and detergents.

Preventative strategies

A healthy lifestyle is so critical for cancer prevention because at least 35% of cancer can be prevented by lifestyle modification. Even if you have leukemia, treatment can be enhanced by some simple healthy lifestyle strategies. These include (but not limited to):

  • Avoid radiation.
  • Avoid or minimize exposure to harmful chemicals and carcinogens, such as benzene.
  • Quit smoking and avoid passive smoking.
  • Maintain healthy weight through nutritious diet and regular exercise.
  • Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, and avoid benzene-hidden foods.
  • Limit the exposure to fumes from gasoline, as well as fumes from solvents, paints, and art supplies, especially in unventilated environment.
  • Get your benzene level tested if you have been exposed to benzene over a long period of time (e.g., a work-related exposure).
  • Consult your physician at once if you experience unexplained symptoms such as chronic fatigue, weight loss, appetite loss, frequent infections, night sweats, short of breath, ongoing low fever, or slow wound healing, which can be signs of leukemia.

In the end, we cannot control our age, gender, race, family history, or even some environmental factors, but we all do have power over our own lifestyles.

 

Image credit: By www.bumrungrad.com

Sunscreen-Wise versus Sunscreen-Abuse

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a carcinogen, period. UV damage comes from the sun. It is well established that excessive sun exposure causes skin cancer.  Sunscreen-wise is to know some important facts about UV radiation and sunscreen efficacy as follows:

1. Understand how sunscreens/sunblocks work. Briefly, a sunscreen can filter UV radiation from sunlight. A sunblock, on the other hand, reflects or scatters the UV rays away so that it doesn’t reach the skin at all, which is preferable.

2. Be mindful about UVA.
a) UVA exposure of human skin mainly produces free radicals, which lead to DNA damage, cell and tissue injury, and consequently skin cancer.
b) UVA alters immune function, and it is primarily responsible for skin aging.
c) Over 90% of UV radiation is UVA, and it penetrates the skin deeper than UVB.

3. Clear up any confusion on SPF (i.e., sun protection factor). SPF is a number that you can use to help determine how long you can stay in the sun before getting a sunburn, and sunburn is caused by UVB radiation. Likewise, SPF measures how effectively the sunscreen formula limits skin exposure to UVB rays. The higher the SPF, the more protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays; which is only meaningful within the range of 1 to 45, as science has shown. Currently, there is no uniform measure for UVA protection or absorption.

4. Now you know what to look for when choosing a product for sun protection. Remember: The degree of UVA filtration determines the quality of overall UV protection, whereas the number of SPF indicates the quantity of UVB protection.

5. Practice sun protection and know why. The use of sunscreen/sunblock plays a role in skin cancer prevention, esp. melanoma prevention.

In comparison, sunscreen-abuse is to use a sunscreen in order to allow a person to stay in the sun too long. Although sunburns may be prevented, skin cells are on their way to malignancy. This especially happens when a product is inadequately used, or no longer effective or with incomplete UV spectrum protection. In one word, sunscreen-abuse can compromise sun safety and skin protection.

A Chemical-free, Health-wise Cleaning Performer

We now know that household cleaners contain an array of harmful materials from acids, volatile organic compounds (VOC) and lye, to toxic chemicals and carcinogens. As the EPA stresses, “The release of these toxic chemicals into our environment can cause air pollution, as well as soil and groundwater damage. Contaminating our air and water can threaten human health and other organisms living in our environment.”

Now the question is — What do we use to clean instead?

This question brings back my own memories of cleaning. When I grew up, there were no household cleaners. My “cleaning crew” was a cloth, baking soda, and hot water. We did almost all the house cleaning jobs. For me, it’s not difficult to go back to work with my old cleaning buddies. Surprisingly, I found an evolutionary, effective performer — E-Cloth.

The Ultimate Chemical-free Cleaning

The Ultimate Chemical-free Cleaning

Welcome to this new, chemical-free way of cleaning up the toughest grime and grease on any surface. Unlike conventional cloths, as you draw an E-Cloth across a surface, the fibers clean by breaking up, trapping, and absorbing dirt and grease into the material. The E-Cloth uses over 500 million micro-fibers to lift unwanted dirt and germs, which are invisible to the naked eye from the smallest and hardest to clean places. All this works with just water. It has made my cleaning easy.

Because E-Cloth’s individual fibers are nearly four times finer than those of the typical or common micro-fiber cloth, E-Cloth carries four-times the cleaning power. The best news of all, no chemicals are involved, so there is no “upstream and downstream contamination” to be concerned about. Using E-Cloth gives us another tool that allows us to take responsibility for making our homes safer, our bodies healthier, and our environment less dangerous.

For more information on how E-Cloth addresses house cleaning, health, environment, and financial saving issues, visit Cancer Prevention Daily.

What are your thoughts on chemical-free cleaning? We’d love to hear your comments.