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Old 11-25-2013, 10:41 AM   #21
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I.... Smoking was successfully attacked by a campaign to make it look like a low class loser thing to do rather then a glamorous thing to do. The same could be done with obesity, but I doubt that it is possible in our current political environment where slogans like "Fat is beautiful" are widely praised. I notice though on TV, the morning show guest my be fat and full of fat is beautiful, but the very well paid woman who is interviewing her is slim. Ha
But eating disorders and skewed self-images continue to be the curse of young women and increasingly young men. There are no fat girls (save the lovable no-boyfriend fat girl, or Megan McCarthy and Rebel Wilson whose weight is part of their shtick, and no average weight young woman is likely to pack on pounds to emulate them) in magazines, movies, etc. Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games was raked over the coals for not being thin enough in the first movie. I think obesity has already been indirectly attacked for more than 20 years. Today there are plenty of grassroots efforts in grade schools to reform school lunches and to incorporate more activity in the school day. Many recent news stories about taking candy and refreshments out of Halloween, for example.

People I know who have had lung cancer the past several years were not heavy--one a long-time ex-smoker thirty years since her last cigarette, a current smoker, and two who never smoked. Several others who had other forms of cancer (brain, myeloma, primary bone, leukemia) were not at all heavy and would have fit right on those Seattle streets, to continue anecdotal instances. My own mother exactly fit M Paquette's profile of healthy behavior and was gone at 50 of her third relapse. So I guess I am just saying I am firmly on the side of funding therapy and letting the education and prevention efforts continue on their own, and I will let this go now as I think I am a little too emotionally invested in it (and I have the holidays to depress me instead ).
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #22
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I'm sorry. Just curious, does your family have a history of cancer?
Now, what would THAT have to do with anything? The consensus here seems to be that sloth, obesity, and improper nutrition causes cancer.

(And yes, there is a history of certain cancers. P53 dysfunction strikes again.)
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:47 AM   #23
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"My point is simply that avoiding sloth, obesity, or other things viewed on this thread as being bad doesn't mean someone won't get cancer."

That same claim is also true if you replace "cancer" with "type 2 diabetes".
No one yet knows all the risk factors for either condition.
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Old 11-25-2013, 10:59 AM   #24
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"My point is simply that avoiding sloth, obesity, or other things viewed on this thread as being bad doesn't mean someone won't get cancer." That same claim is also true if you replace "cancer" with "type 2 diabetes". No one yet knows all the risk factors for either condition.
Yup. Thin fit people get Type 2 diabetes, too. They may find it easier to control, but the loss of insulin sensitivity seems to bite a lot of folks as they age. Diet may be one risk factor, but simply living a long time appears to be another.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:12 AM   #25
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My husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when he was about 43. Not overweight and he works out daily, does martial arts and even MMA (he's too old to *be* an MMA fighter but he's really into it and fights with young guys for practice/fun - it's a very intense workout). His brother, on the other hand, is 4 years older and morbidly obese (by the charts - he's active but he's a HUGE guy) and his blood sugar is A-OK. It's frustrating!!!
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:12 AM   #26
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Everyone in my family is or was t2 diabetic, except me. And none of us were fat. I have dropped my A1C levels to levels that my Doc says are not even pre-diabetic. But all I would have to do is eat a "mixed reasonable diet" instead of a fairly strict low carb diet and I would see my A1Cs climb to at least pre-diabetic and possibly diabetic levels. It seems like in matters of health, the easy assumption of stochastic processes tends to get thrown out, while in finance most of us implicitly accept that nothing is always, things are always stochastic.

A favorite technique of attacking a post here is to reduce it ad absurdum, then to attack that absurdity. No educated person is simple minded enough to imagine the things that get assumed as the meaning of his post. I will quit trying.

Now I agree with some others, obesity and smoking have nothing to do with anything. In fact, we should perhaps encourage more people to eat more and exercise less. Who knows, it may save them from a fatal case of anorexia nervosa, a real enough but perhaps somewhat less common affliction than obesity.


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Old 11-25-2013, 11:20 AM   #27
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People I know who have had lung cancer the past several years were not heavy--one a long-time ex-smoker thirty years since her last cigarette, a current smoker, and two who never smoked. Several others who had other forms of cancer (brain, myeloma, primary bone, leukemia) were not at all heavy and would have fit right on those Seattle streets, to continue anecdotal instances. My own mother exactly fit M Paquette's profile of healthy behavior and was gone at 50 of her third relapse. So I guess I am just saying I am firmly on the side of funding therapy and letting the education and prevention efforts continue on their own, and I will let this go now as I think I am a little too emotionally invested in it (and I have the holidays to depress me instead ).
I also know a number of close friends and relatives, including my mother, a grandfather and my FIL, who were not overweight, and walked a lot. In fact my FIL and grandfather were super thin and very fit and healthy, and neither had ever smoked, but suddenly got ill, had aggressive cancer and were dead in 6 weeks.

While I am in favor of prevention rather than cure I don't think the level of investment for a cure to cancer should be curtailed. I also don't think big pharma will slow their search for a cure as the potential rewards are too high. There was an interesting documentary a few weeks back (Frontline?) looking into why we appear to be losing the battle against bacteria with fewer and fewer effective anti-biotic drugs available. Turns out that the last of the big Pharma companies has stopped researching new anti-biotics. Like the rest of the Pharma companies they have decided that new anti-biotics have too short a lifetime too be big profit makers.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:33 AM   #28
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Everyone in my family is or was t2 diabetic, except me. And none of us were fat. I have dropped my A1C levels to levels that my Doc says are not even pre-diabetic. But all I would have to do is eat a "mixed reasonable diet" instead of a fairly strict low carb diet and I would see my A1Cs climb to at least pre-diabetic and possibly diabetic levels. It seems like in matters of health, the easy assumption of stochastic processes tends to get thrown out, while in finance most of us implicitly accept that nothing is always, things are always stochastic. A favorite technique of attacking a post here is to reduce it ad absurdum, then to attack that absurdity. No educated person is simple minded enough to imagine the things that get assumed as the meaning of his post. I will quit trying. Now I agree with some others, obesity and smoking have nothing to do with anything. In fact, we should perhaps encourage more people to eat more and exercise less. Who knows, it may save them from a fatal case of anorexia nervosa, a real enough but perhaps somewhat less common affliction than obesity. Ha
I'm sorry, I thought you were asking if money should be spent on prevention or therapy. We just gave our opinions.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:38 AM   #29
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Several others who had other forms of cancer (brain, myeloma, primary bone, leukemia) were not at all heavy and would have fit right on those Seattle streets, to continue anecdotal instances. My own mother exactly fit M Paquette's profile of healthy behavior and was gone at 50 of her third relapse.
Well of course when you look out the window and report what you see, it is necessarily an anecdote. Most of us structure our map of reality by just such anecdotes, and as the saying goes, who do you trust-your lying eyes or what someone says?

Also of course, one's sidewalk observations have nothing whatsoever to do with cancer. Every thin person I see may have cancer for all I know. It is well known that cancer makes you thin. I was commenting only in favor of the well supported epidemiologic observation that urban populations where people walk are more likely to be normal weight than populations where one necessarily has to get around by private automobile. And of course I say urban populations, not every individual.

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Old 11-25-2013, 11:52 AM   #30
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Perhaps semantics, but IMHO prevention and treatment are both critical in the "war" on any disease. It would be silly to attack a cholera outbreak by spending all your resources on antibiotics while ignoring the contaminated water supply.
BTW- cases of thin, athletic folks getting diabetes or cancer is entirely consistent with obesity being an important risk factor. Just because there's a few obese centenarians who smoked like chimneys & drank like fishes doesn't mean public health officials should be promoting gluttony, chain smoking, and alcoholism as keys to longevity
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:54 AM   #31
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Well of course when you look out the window and report what you see, it is necessarily an anecdote. Most of us structure our map of reality by just such anecdotes, and as the saying goes, who do you trust-your lying eyes or what someone says? Also of course, one's sidewalk observations have nothing whatsoever to do with cancer. Every thin person I see may have cancer for all I know. It is well known that cancer makes you thin. I was commenting only in favor of the well supported epidemiologic observation that urban populations where people walk are more likely to be normal weight than populations where one necessarily has to get around by private automobile. And of course I say urban populations, not every individual. Ha
Statistics are good. Big fan here.

Unfortunately, we hairless plains apes tend to be anecdote-driven. Ever since we saw Thag get eaten by that big cat at the sunset watering hole we've avoided it and gone thirsty at night...

I'm a big fan of the science stuff. (Physics degree, but a couple year detour into organic and biochemistry.) I tend to look closer than many folks are comfortable with, including the various diet fads and cures. So, when someone tells me that their diet works because 'cancer cells can only ferment glucose' and the diet deprives them, I just have to ask if they really believe that just cutting carbohydrates removes all glucose from the cell's environment. What happens to other cells when one drops the level of glucose in the extracellular fluid to the point where the cancer cells stop replication? (Hint: It ain't pretty, especially for cells in the central nervous system.).
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:56 PM   #32
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Interesting topic. Cancer seems to be a stochastic occurrence: everyone's got cancerous cells in their body, it's impossible not to. Not everyone forms a malignant tumor. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer. Not every lung cancer patient smoked. There are lots of things that increase your chances of getting certain forms of cancer, but I don't think there's a way to 100% prevent any form of it.

What we CAN do is detect it earlier and, therefore, treat it earlier. That's been key in reducing the lethality of both breast and prostate cancers to the point where they were extremely deadly in the 70s, and now the 5-year survival rate is near 100% for prostate and over 90% for breast cancer.

Meanwhile, pancreatic cancer has gone from about 2% in the 70s to just about 6% now for 5-year survival. Why? Because by the time it's detected, it's usually spread to the liver or stomach or other organ, or gone stage IV.

My dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January, and so far seems to be one of the very lucky few. 4 in 5 are dead within a year.

He did smoke, and that might be part of it. But there is also evidence that it could be linked to genetics, and now we think his mom may have died from PC because her symptoms were consistent. Of course, I am very interested in the study of pancreatic cancer, particularly detection methods, and there is hope out there.

But to say we need to stop looking for a cure might be fine... not sure there IS a cure for cancer, considering its nature... and I agree we should continue to fight obesity even if it's not a cancer issue.

But there are plenty of ways to make cancers like pancreatic much more in line with prostate cancer - in other words, let's figure out ways to detect them so we can treat them. Treatments can be effective, but only if caught in time.
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:02 PM   #33
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Maybe we should call a truce in the War on Cancer and concentrate on prevention. Besides smoking, the most preventable cause of cancer seems to be obesity. It is generally thought that obesity may account for about a third of many cancer types, particularly breast, colon, uterus, kidney and esophagus. Obesity is a risk factor for type II diabetes and these patients are not only more likely to get cancer, but to have poor outcomes...
The National Cancer Institute has this to say about obesity as it relates to cancer risks: Obesity and Cancer Risk - National Cancer Institute.

Of course, the exact causes for cancer are not known. Besides genetic factors, many other environmental factors may also contribute, perhaps in synergism. For example, exposure to asbestos greatly amplifies the risk of lung cancer to cigarette smokers.

And speaking of smoking whose association with lung cancer is the highest, compared to any other personal factors with respect to any other cancer, this association of cause and effect is still not 1 to 1.

I saw somewhere that the risk of an individual getting lung cancer in his/her lifetime is 1 in 13. This includes both smokers and non-smokers. Yet, only about 1 in 8 smokers dies of lung cancer. If it were not for the other 7 out of 8 that we see live to a long life with no ill-effects from smoking, smokers would all quit. And out of all lung cancer patients, about 10-15% never smoke. Life just is not fair.

Anyway, it's not to say that obesity and smoking should not be avoided. There are other health risks beside cancer that these bring.
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:43 PM   #34
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The National Cancer Institute has this to say about obesity as it relates to cancer risks: Obesity and Cancer Risk - National Cancer Institute.
Excellent link. Thanks.
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One study, using NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data, estimated that in 2007 in the United States, about 34,000 new cases of cancer in men (4 percent) and 50,500 in women (7 percent) were due to obesity. The percentage of cases attributed to obesity varied widely for different cancer types but was as high as 40 percent for some cancers, particularly endometrial cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma.
The article gives lots and lots of details on specific types of cancer after that quoted bit, so it's well worth looking at.

Also, please note that the statistics are pretty clear on obesity NOT being the primary cause of most cancer. It is a significant factor for colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancers. Also also, please note that this doesn't mean obesity is not a health problem. It causes a significant physical stress on the body mechanics, with the stress on the circulatory system leading to heart disease and stroke, and the load on knees, hips, and back promoting osteoarthritis. There are also some bad metabolic effects as others have noted.

If everyone has a near ideal weight, diet, and exercise plan in effect, we don't prevent cancer. There are a bit fewer cases in a given population. We also don't cure cancer. Maintenance of weight, proper diet, and exercise improve the likelihood of being able to receive and recover from some treatment (e.g., tolerate surgery, chemo, or radiation treatment), and might contribute to survival time.

So, yes. Money should be spent on prevention AND therapy.
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #35
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Also, please note that the statistics are pretty clear on obesity NOT being the primary cause of most cancer. It is a significant factor for colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder cancers...
Regarding the diet factor, I recently saw quite a few articles on high-carb diets increasing the risk of recurrence of some types of cancer among patients in remission. This effect is strongest if the patient is also obese.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:33 PM   #36
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Maybe we should call a truce in the War on Cancer and concentrate on prevention. Besides smoking, the most preventable cause of cancer seems to be obesity. It is generally thought that obesity may account for about a third of many cancer types, particularly breast, colon, uterus, kidney and esophagus. (snip)

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Let's assume that obesity does account for one-third of cancer risk. What about the other two-thirds? Obesity is a recognized factor in breast cancer risk, but there are many others. Just to mention a few that I personally could point the finger of blame at, unless there is some way of preventing dense breast tissue, late menopause, and failure to breast-feed (due to childlessness in my case) as well as obesity, I don't know how much prevention can be counted on to reduce the incidence of breast cancer. My mother, sister, and one of my aunts have all been well over "healthy body weight" for decades, and none of them got cancer. I was underweight for a good deal of my childhood, and overweight for only five or six of the nearly fifty-eight years I've been on this planet. The fact that I'm the only one of us who did get breast cancer, suggests at least that other risk factors are have a greater influence than weight on overall breast cancer risk.

I wish you had found some other way to pose this question. As someone who already has the disease, "calling a truce in the war on cancer" in favor of prevention sounds uncomfortably close to "don't bother to treat people with cancer more than minimally and don't bother with research into new treatments--they're going to die anyway and it's probably their own fault they got sick in the first place". Prevention alone isn't enough. Obesity, breast density, alcohol consumption etc etc are risk factors. Reducing them doesn't make you immune to cancer the way a vaccine makes you immune to smallpox or tetanus. I frequent an online breast cancer forum, and many, many, of the women there "did everything right"--they maintained healthy weight, didn't overindulge in alcohol, exercised regularly, breastfed their children etcetera, etcetera, etcetera--and they got got breast cancer anyway. Even if everyone perfectly followed every preventive measure, people would still get cancer. It will take both prevention and treatment to eliminate cancer.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:55 PM   #37
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Rant alert: I find that much of the attempted correlation in this thread of various individual bodily types or lifestyle characteristics to be based upon a subtext of 'blame the victim' In ancient days, if someone became ill, it was because someone sinned somehow, meaning it was their fault. Now, it is because they did this or didn't do that - still blaming the victim. The truth is life is a risk factor, and no one gets out alive. So enjoy it while you got it!
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:30 PM   #38
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Except for citing reputable medical studies, we may need to consider avoiding all attempts to correlate disease with body type. There have been a number of such discussions, which end up as political discussions do: nobody is convinced, and most people are annoyed.

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Old 11-25-2013, 09:39 PM   #39
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Regarding treatment vs. prevention, I think both areas are being worked on. As I understand, the prevention researches are mostly epidemiology studies that collect data from many individuals and to attempt to identify causes and effects. We cannot do direct experiments on people habits and lifestyles like we do with mice.

A book that I just finished may be of interest to people reading this thread. See What have you read recently?.
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:44 PM   #40
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I have a question-did any of you rather outspoken critics read any of the article? It isn't at all clear that you did. It's not my thesis, I have no clear opinion, BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THE ISSUES. Also it is not the thesis of Peter Attia, who just wonders if perhaps our LIMITED resources might go further if a larger % were spent on basic research. As he clearly points out, operative therapies tend to work very well. But (according to Dr. Abrass) not much progress has been made in the treatment of metastatic cancer in a very long time. It might be that this is saying that another pathway might be worth trying.

Hey, but feel free to ignore what this expert says, just don't blame me, since I only posted what I mistakenly thought might interest the group. I should have known better.

Dr Abrass' final statement:"Maybe we should call a truce in the War on Cancer and concentrate on prevention. Besides smoking, the most preventable cause of cancer seems to be obesity. It is generally thought that obesity may account for about a third of many cancer types, particularly breast, colon, uterus, kidney and esophagus."

As I read this, he doesn't seem to be saying that you have to be obese to get cancer. Only that the most preventable cause of cancer, after smoking, seems to be obesity. Then he names cancers for which this seems to be noticed. But you know, he may well be wrong. Why not write him and point out his errors, 'cause I don't know him and I cannot carry the messages and I am not sure I would be comfortable with this anyway.

But whatever.
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