Sunday, September 06, 2009

Women could avoid breast cancer through lifestyle changes

The WCRF is an international fundraising scam run by a group of medicos and others that issues regular but poorly founded scares to publicize itself. NOTHING they say should be taken as authoritative. But taking many grains of salt with their pronouncements would always be advisable

Scientists have found the strongest evidence yet that lifestyle is linked to the risk of developing breast cancer. The biggest review of research into the disease has shown that more than four out of ten cases could be prevented if women exercised, limited their alcohol intake and maintained a healthy weight. Breastfeeding also helps to reduce the risk of developing the disease, which kills 12,000 women in Britain each year.

The study by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is an update on its cancer prevention report published in 2007. That report drew on 873 breast cancer studies. Now scientists at Imperial College London have added a further 81 studies carried out in the past few years.

The charity recommends that men and women aim to keep as lean as possible without becoming underweight. A healthy body mass index is between 18 and 25, but it recommends that people should try to remain close to the lower end of the scale, take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and that alcohol be limited to two drinks a day for men and one for women.

The latest study is part of a Continuous Update Project run by the WCRF. Work on bowel cancer and prostate cancer should be available by 2010.

Arlene Wilkie, director of research and policy at Breast Cancer Campaign, said: “This review provides further evidence that maintaining a healthy weight throughout life along with regular exercise will reduce the risk of health problems such as breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis.”


Drugs given during labour linked to breastfeeding problems

Another iatrogenic mess. Routine use of drugs instead of targeted use is always incautious

Drugs and painkillers that are routinely given to women in labour may reduce their ability to breastfeed their baby, reseachers say. A study seen by The Times ahead of its publication today, suggests that life-saving medication given to nearly all women to prevent and treat bleeding after birth is linked to reduced breastfeeding rates. The findings indicate a potential biological reason for why so many women in Britain fail to breastfeed, despite government efforts to increase the number of infants receiving their mother’s milk.

The Department of Health recommends that all children are breastfed for the first six months, because of the health benefits it can provide for both mother and baby. But breastfeeding rates in Britain are among the lowest in Europe, with only 45 per cent of infants exclusively breastfed a week after birth, and one in four receiving only formula milk from birth.

Analysis of the records of more than 48,000 women who gave birth in South Wales found that use of the clotting agents oxytocin or ergometrine was associated with a 7 per cent decline in the proportion who started breastfeeding within 48 hours of giving birth. It is thought that the drugs may impede a woman’s ability to produce milk, suggesting that mothers who have them may need greater time or support from midwives if they wish to breastfeed their baby. The study, by researchers at Swansea University, also confirmed the link between high doses of injected pain relief and lower rates of breastfeeding, an association that has recently prompted revised guidelines for the NHS on the use of epidurals in labour.

Sue Jordan, who led the study, said that the Government’s target to increase breastfeeding rates by 2 per cent a year was “unlikely to be met” unless further research was carried out. Young mothers or those discouraged from breastfeeding for social or cultural reasons are more likely to feed their babies from a bottle, but the main reasons cited for failure to breastfeed are a lack of milk or babies that simply refuse to feed. Of the women involved in the study, who all gave birth between 1989 and 1999, two thirds (65.5 per cent) of those who did not receive drugs to prevent post-partum haemorrhage started breastfeeding their baby within 48 hours of giving birth. But the proportion of those doing so reduced to 59.1 per cent among those given an injection of oxytocin, a hormone that plays an important natural role in labour, and to 56.4 per cent of women given an additional injection of ergometrine, given to address actual bleeding.

Overall, nearly eight out of ten (79 per cent) of the women in the study received either oxytocin, ergometrine or both. It is routine for women being treated on the NHS to be offered these drugs. The decline of 6-7 per cent in those being breastfed could lead to up to 50,000 fewer British babies being breastfed every year than might otherwise be possible, she added.

Because of the health benefits of breastfeeding, 50,000 bottle-fed infants represents the possibility of about 1,000 children becoming clinically obese, or 3,000 additional cases of childhood asthma. It could also greatly increase the number of mothers affected by breast cancer.

The findings are published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Dr Jordan said: “The potentially life-saving treatments to prevent bleeding after birth must not be compromised on the basis of this study but further studies are required to establish ways to minimise any effects on breastfeeding rates."

Rosemary Dodds, policy research officer for the National Childbirth Trust, said: “Women need more support to start breastfeeding soon after giving birth and this study adds weight to that. “A lot of women are not given enough information about the medications that might be given to them during childbirth, and women at low risk of bleeding may not need to take these drugs. “It is important that women understand the risks and can give their informed consent before they go into labour.”


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"A healthy body mass index is between 18 and 25, but it recommends that people should try to remain close to the lower end of the scale."

Since breasts are pure fat and a small amount of protein connective tissue and a fixed-sized milk gland and they thus get quite large in overweight women, and since volume (number of cells) raises to the third power of linear size...then any given women when skinny will have many fewer breast cells than when they are overweight. That gives a simple reason for higher cancer rates in overweight women: it only takes one cell to start a tumor so if you double the number of cells you conceivably double the chance of cancer.