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5 foods that increase the risk of cancer

5 foods that increase the risk of cancer

Cancer causes the cells of a part of the body to undergo changes with respect to genetics, eventually forming tumors. These tumors feed on the nutrients being provided by the food consumed. This leads one down the path of treatments like chemotherapy, car t cell therapy, immunotherapy, and more. But some foods increase the growth rate of these tumors. Steering away from these foods is highly recommended to avoid the increased risk of cancer.

Sugar
The prolific growth of cancerous cells depends on the glucose obtained from the same sugar. Aside from sugar, other high glycemic index foods can also increase the risk of developing cancer. Various oncologists suggest patients switch to a low GI regime with their food that helps starve the malignant cells. This process is also known as the Warburg effect. One may have to give up enjoying foods like candies, sodas, and cookies.

Alcohol
When the body starts breaking down alcohol it forms a chemical compound named acetaldehyde. This compound causes damage to the DNA resulting in cellular mutation. Such damage leads to uncontrolled and unmonitored growth of cells, subsequently causing cancer.

Dairy
Dairy lies in the dividing line that is formed between foods that decrease the risk of cancer and foods that contribute to it. This is because dairy and its products have been shown to be beneficial for some forms of cancer but risk-inducing for some others. Identifying whether dairy works for an individual is up to the doctor. The consideration and elimination of this food will depend on the type of cancer being dealt with.

Hydrogenated oils
Hydrogenated oils increase the shelf life of processed foods on addition. However, non-aggressive prostate cancer has often been related to the transfats found in these oils. Linoleic acid, which is also found in hydrogenated oil, is attributed to causes of tumors that are confined to organs. All these contribute to increasing the risk of cancer development.

Processed meat
Pepperoni, pastrami, ham, hot dogs, and salami are some of the major contributors to cancer risk. Sodium nitrate present in these foods increases the chances of developing cancer by a whopping 20%, so opting for uncured meat is safer.

There are various types of cancer that we need to stay safe from. Colorectal, oesophageal, liver, bone, and skin cancers are some of the most common forms. Ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancers are common in female patients, while prostate cancer is common in males.

Multiple treatment and management options exist for people suffering from cancer. Although the need for a definitive cure still exists, options like CAR T-cell therapy, immuno-, chemo, and radiotherapies, cryoablation, and even surgery are quite effective. For advanced cases of non-small cell lung cancer, KRAS-G12C inhibitors are used. The mode of treatment is decided by the panel of doctors that will be helping the patient overcome the condition as well as the stage of the patient’s cancer, i.e., 1, 2, 3, or 4.

Nivolumab (OPDIVO®)
Marketed under the brand name OPDIVO®, Nivolumab is an FDA-approved immunotherapy medication. It belongs to a category of medicines commonly referred to as checkpoint inhibitors. This medicine is used in the targeted treatment of several types of metastatic cancers. Nivolumab’s mechanism of action is efficient as it directly prompts the immune system to destroy cancer cells. In comparison to chemotherapy, there are fewer side effects. Nivolumab is administered intravenously over a one-hour period with a gap of two weeks. This prescription is covered under original Medicare when it is given as an outpatient infusion. The coverage is valid only after a 20 percent copayment and Medicare part B deductible are met for the purchase.

Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim)
Cancers, such as HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, require rigorous chemotherapy regimes that can lead to alarmingly low levels of white blood cells (WBCs). This, in turn, can result in infections, making it difficult to manage the disease. Neulasta® is used to prevent the loss of WBCs. It is administered via an on-body injector that can be attached to the skin. Neulasta® is infused over a 45-minute period.

Ripretinib
This is a treatment for advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors in adults. Thanks to its innovative dual mechanism of action, Ripretinib is unlike other cancer treatments. It comes in the form of a once-daily tablet.

Fostamatinib disodium
Sometimes, cancer treatments can cause immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). In such cases, doctors may recommend fostamatinib disodium, a spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) inhibitor approved by the FDA for treating chronic ITP in adults. Fostamatinib disodium’s mechanism of action is unlike any other treatment. Its active metabolite targets the SYK-mediated pathway of platelet destruction. Fostamatinib disodium is an oral treatment mainly used twice daily.

mRNA cancer therapy
The body cells use mRNA (Messenger Ribonucleic Acid) to make DNA into proteins to replace the deficient ones. They fuel the immune system in fighting severe and infectious conditions like cancer. More than 100 clinical trials are testing mRNA for managing types of cancer like pancreatic cancer, blood cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma. But no mRNA vaccines have been approved by the US FDA. This is an emerging and promising research area that may change the course of history.

Gene therapy
Genes are made up of DNA that shapes how a body forms, but faulty genes may promote the growth of a disease. Gene therapy alters genes to manage or stop the growth of a disease like cancer. Cancer gene therapy involves the transfer of nucleic acids into normal cells to decrease tumor burden. This may be done by direct cell-killing, immunomodulation, or correcting genetic errors to reverse the severity of cancer. The transfer of genes to recipient cells is done by facilitating agents called vectors.

Xofigo®
Xofigo® (radium Ra 223 dichloride) is a treatment option for prostate cancer. The injection is for cases where hormone treatment is ineffective, and prostate cancer has spread to the bones but not other organs. The advantage of this option is that it specifically targets cancerous cells present in the bones. A total of six injections are administered in a span of four weeks. One can get Xofigo® at discounted rates through prostate cancer Rx saving programs available on various websites.

At-home tests for colon cancer
In recent years, improved screening and timely diagnosis has helped improve the overall outlook for the condition. There are FDA-approved home test kits that can detect blood in the stool and abnormal DNA, which are some of the early warning signs of colon cancer. Cologuard is a prescription-only FIT-DNA test that delivers results within 14 days of testing at home.

The FDA also recently approved BRAFTOVI® (encorafenib) in combination with Cetuximab for metastatic colorectal cancer. The two treatment options can be used in cases where a BRAF mutation has been detected. The use of BRAFTOVI® and Cetuximab has only been approved in adults.

There are other treatment options for cancer, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. These methods can also be used to manage lung cancer, which has been diagnosed in more than 500,000 individuals in the country. The most common type is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), while small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is rare. A significant difference between these two types of lung cancer is that NSCLC is slow-growing whereas SCLC spreads quickly. NSCLC can be effectively treated with surgery or radiation therapy. In rare cases, people who have NSCLC also have a diagnosis of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive lung cancer.

Immunotherapy and B-cell Lymphoma treatments are covered by various copay assist programs, private insurance providers, and even certain Medicare Advantage plans. The extent of coverage is determined based on the diagnosis and treatment for different types of cancer.

Genealogy test kits, such as those offered by 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and FamilyTreeDNA, can help recognize any potential risk to cancer, based on genetic history.

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