Are You A Dipper?

If you were to regularly take your blood pressure when you wake up each day and just before you go to bed at night you should notice a pattern of variance between the 2 readings.

This is because our blood pressure has a circadian rhythm.

Blood pressure is normally lower at night and then starts to rise a few hours before you wake up. It continues to rise during the day, usually peaking in the middle of the afternoon. Then in the late afternoon and evening, your blood pressure begins dropping again.

This is a healthy dipping pattern and denotes a healthy blood pressure circadian rhythm.

So, what happens if this is not the case?  What if you don’t dip?

There are many studies suggesting that people who do not show an appropriate nocturnal dip in blood pressure, called non-dippers, are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular complications and disease. 

We can greatly impact our blood pressure, both negatively and positively, by our sleeping pattern.

Research has found that those who sleep less than 4 hours a night are at a higher risk of hypertension, which is high blood pressure, than those who sleep 7 hours each night.

And here’s a kicker. Even one bad night’s sleep can have an impact by causing a spike in blood pressure that night!

Home Monitoring Of Your Blood Pressure 

Taking your blood pressure reading regularly is a simple habit to develop.  It will give you a day to day snapshot of your reading and over time give you a pattern of your blood pressure. This will help you to identify irregularities or changes.

And this is important both for cancer prevention and for those going through treatment.

Hypertension is associated with a higher risk for not only developing cancer but dying from it as well.

In one large study that included 289,454 men and 288,345 women, the results showed that higher than normal blood pressure was statistically significantly associated with a 10-20% higher risk of developing cancer in men, and a higher risk of dying from the disease in both men and women.

And for those in active care, there is a known association between chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment and the development or worsening of hypertension. 

There is a known association between chemotherapy and radiotherapy for treatment of cancer patients and development or worsening of hypertension…Morbidity and mortality increased in patients with cancer and hypertension without proper antihypertensive treatment. We concluded that there is need for early diagnosis, effective monitoring and treatment strategies for hypertension in cancer patients in order to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality

As well, other medications used to treat cancer can cause a rapid onset of elevated blood pressure. 

So, in both cancer prevention and in active care, monitoring your blood pressure is a simple yet powerful tool to include in your own health protocol.

If you have early warning signs of a change in your blood pressure, whether in active cancer care or in prevention, you can bring this to the attention of your physician and get ahead of potential issues.


References

Sleep and Hypertension

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913764/

High blood pressure is linked to increased risk of developing or dying from cancer

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926182618.htm

Association between blood pressure and risk of cancer development: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-45014-4#:~:text=Over%20the%20past%20few%20decades,to%20men%20(63%25%20vs.

Hypertension in Patients with Cancer

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4386854/

Hypertension and cancer treatment

https://siteman.wustl.edu/treatment/cardio-oncology/high-blood-pressure/#:~:text=Hypertension%20and%20cancer%20treatment,pressure%20are%20anti%2DVEGF%20medications.

 

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Facts & Tips for Prevention

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world⁠.

In 2015, it was estimated that approximately 26,600 Canadians would be diagnosed with lung cancer.  That is more than any other type of cancer.

In addition to this, more people die from lung cancer than breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer combined.

There are two major types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC)⁠.

Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for about 85 percent of lung cancers, small cell lung cancer about 15 percent.⁠

NSCLC usually starts in glandular cells on the outer part of the lung. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma. Non–small cell lung cancer can also start in flat, thin cells called squamous cells. These cells line the bronchi, which are the large airways that branch off from the windpipe (trachea) into the lungs. This type of cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. Large cell carcinoma is another type of non–small cell lung cancer, but it is less common. There are also several rare types of non–small cell lung cancer. These include sarcoma and sarcomatoid carcinoma.  SCLC usually starts in cells that line the bronchi in the centre of the lungs. The main types of small cell lung cancer are small cell carcinoma and combined small cell carcinoma (mixed tumour with squamous or glandular cells).

Anatomy & Facts About Our Lungs

 

 

Did you know?

  • In proper anatomy our right lung is shorter and wider than our left.  Our left lung is narrower and more oblong
  • The anterior border of the left lung is marked by a deep cardiac notch while the right lung is straight
  • Our left lung is smaller than our right lung because our heart occupies space on the left side
  • Our right lung consists of 3 lobes.  Our left lung has 2
  • Our right lung connects to the trachea by two bronchi while the left lung connects to the trachea by a single bronchus

Possible causes of lung cancer

🔹Cigarette smoking causes most lung cancers.  Of note however many patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer have either never smoked or are former smokers.

🔹Exposure to high levels of pollution⁠

🔹Exposure to radiation and asbestos may increase risk of lung cancer⁠

🔹Genetics

Common symptoms of lung cancer

✔️A cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time⁠

✔️Constant chest pain⁠

✔️Coughing up blood⁠

✔️Shortness of breath⁠

✔️Fatigue⁠

Help lower your risk of lung cancer by incorporating the following tips

☑️Stop Smoking:⁠

Smoking is responsible for the majority of lung cancers. If you are a smoker it’s never too late to quit. For those who have been diagnosed with lung cancer, by stopping your smoking habit you can make cancer treatment more effective

☑️Limit Your Chemical Exposure:⁠

Chemicals in the workplace and at home can contribute to lung cancer

☑️Reduce Your Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke:⁠

Exposure to second-hand smoke increases your chance of developing lung cancer

☑️Consume Green Tea and Black Tea:⁠

Studies have shown that consuming Green & Black tea are associated with a reduced lung cancer risk⁠

As well as the above, proper sleep, exercising regularly and eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies are very important habits for cancer prevention as a whole.⁠


References

 

Let’s Practice Safe Sun!

Welcome to August!

August may mark the ‘last’ month of summer but it has also been designated as Sun Awareness Month.

So let’s talk ‘Safe Sun’ shall we!

⁠Why is it important to talk about safe sun practices you ask?  Well it has a lot to do with the fact that the incidences of skin cancer has increased significantly over the past 25 years in Canada.

Skin cancer is divided in to 2 groups, melanoma and non-melanoma.

Melanoma skin cancer starts in the melanocyte cells of the skin. The melanocytes make melanin and it is melanin that gives skin its colour. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer.

The second group is non-melanoma skin cancer comprising basal cell and squamous cell cancers.  These cancers are less serious types and make up about 95% of all skin cancers

Are You at Risk?

There are risk factors for skin cancer.  If you are at a higher risk, you can take the proper steps to protect yourself.

You may be at a higher risk for developing skin cancer if you have:

  • A personal or family history of melanoma
  • Many moles or moles that are unusually shaped or large
  • A susceptibility to burning easily in the sun
  • Light coloured skin, eyes, and hair
  • A history of excessive sun exposure
  • A disease or diseases that suppress your immune system

One of the main causes of skin cancer is over exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

The sun naturally gives out ultraviolet radiation. There are two main types of UV rays that can damage skin.

UVA Rays

  • UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB and play a major part in the aging of our skin.  Think wrinkle rays:)  UVA rays can damage skin cells called keratinocytes. Basal and squamous cells are types of keratinocytes.  UVA rays can contribute to and possibly initiate the development of skin cancers.

UVB Rays

  • UVB rays cause skin reddening and sunburn damaging the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. These rays play a key role in the development of skin cancer.  UVB rays can burn and damage your skin all year-round.  Even in the snowy winter months the snow and ice can reflect UVB rays and damage your skin.

Interesting facts to note

Your skin does not have to be in a blistering, peeling state to be considered burnt.  If your skin has gone red or pink it has been sunburnt⁠.

When your skin gets burnt, the UV radiation causes damage to the DNA of your skin cells and it is this damage that is the underlying cause of skin cancer⁠.

⁠You can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer with proper sun care aimed at avoiding harmful UV rays.

Here are 3 important tips to protect yourself

  1. Seek shade when the sun is at its highest point in the sky.  This is when it is strongest
  2. Cover up with clothing – wear a t-shirt, hat and sunglasses
  3. Apply sunscreen regularly with at least a SPF15. Use it generously and re-apply regularly

References

http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/skin-melanoma/melanoma/?region=on#ixzz5u2kUehFF

https://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2017/05/08/sun-awareness-week-10-new-sun-safety-myths-debunked/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10985-sun-exposure–skin-cancer

https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/sun-exposure-skin-cancer#1

 

July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month.

Bladder cancer is the 5th most common cancer in Canada.  It is the 4th most common among men and 12th most common cancer among women. It is estimated that approximately 9,000 Canadians are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year.

The Bladder

The bladder is part of the urinary system. It is a hollow organ in the pelvis that stores urine before it is eliminated from the body.

The bladder wall is made up of 3 main layers:

  1. The urothelium is the inner lining of the bladder. It is made up of urothelial cells. The urothelium is also called the transitional epithelium.
  2. The lamina propria (also called the submucosa) is the thin layer of connective tissue that surrounds the urothelium. It contains blood vessels, nerves and glands.
  3. The muscularis propria is the thick, outer muscle layer of the bladder. It is made up of 3 layers of smooth muscle.

Common Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

  • Pelvic Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Pain while urinating
  • Frequent urinating but only small amounts at a time
  • Blood in urine

Possible Causes of Bladder Cancer

Although one cannot conclude with absolute certainty the cause of bladder cancer, the following factors have been linked to the disease:

  • Smoking and other tobacco use
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Radiation exposure
  • Dehydration
  • Parasitic infections

Tips for Preventing Bladder Cancer

There are obvious things that you can do to help prevent bladder cancer when some of the possible causes are known.  They include the cessation of  smoking and limiting exposure to radiation and chemicals.

Drinking lots of water encourages frequent urination.  This helps you to get rid of harmful chemicals that can build up in your bladder.

Added to this eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers your risk for many types of cancer including bladder cancer.

References:

https://bladdercancercanada.org/en/bladder-cancer-facts/

https://www.drugs.com/mcd/bladder-cancer

http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/bladder/bladder-cancer/the-bladder/?region=on

https://www.webmd.com/cancer/bladder-cancer/understanding-bladder-cancer-prevention

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67077-8/fulltext

 

 

5 Reasons to Use Fermented Foods in Your Cancer Fighting Diet

The process of fermentation is a metabolic one that converts sugar into acids, gases or alcohol. Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lacto-fermentation where natural bacteria feed on the sugar in the food creating lactic acid.

Cultures around the world have been eating fermented foods for years, from Sauerkraut in Germany, Kimichi in Korea and beer and wine just about everywhere.

The benefits of fermented foods are noted in many studies pertaining to cancer care and prevention due in great part for their ability to improve intestinal tract health, enhance immunity and to synthesize and  enhance the bioavailability of nutrients.

The beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods have been shown to be effective for suppressing colon cancer and may also inhibit cancers of the breast, liver, small intestine and other organs.

Butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid created when microbes ferment dietary fiber in your gut, has been shown to induce programmed cell death of colon cancer cells.  Cultured milk products may reduce your risk of bladder cancer by about 29 percent.

5 Reasons to Use Fermented Foods in Your Cancer Fighting Diet

Probiotics

Fermented foods contain probiotics. Probiotics are important to intake daily as they improve digestion, aid in our immune function and balance our intestinal bacteria.

Enhances Digestion

digestion

Fermenting foods is like partially digesting them before they are consumed.  This means that there will be less work that the body has to do to break them down. Due to this benefit it is interesting to note that many people who are lactose intolerant will be able to tolerate kefir, a fermented milk product.

Enzyme Production

Enzymes break down the food that we eat enabling nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream.  The probiotics in fermented foods produce digestive enzymes that are essential when breaking down our food.  This helps to make the nutrients in food more bioavailable for absorption.

Increases Nutrient Content of Food

Fermenting foods improves the quantity, availability and digestibility of some dietary nutrients. Fermentation of food with lactic acid bacteria increases folic acid in yogurt.  Niacin and riboflavin levels in yogurt are increased with fermentation.
fermented foods

 

Supports our immune function

immunity

It is estimated that approximately 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Fermented foods enable better digestion and healthy gut flora, which in turn supports immune function. Fermented foods are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which help to strengthen immunity.

 

 

Here is a wonderful recipe for Fermented Quinoa Breakfast Bowl:

https://www.cathybiase.com/fermented-quinoa-breakfast-bowl/

References:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/02/13/fermented-foods-anti-cancer-diet.aspx

https://draxe.com/fermented-foods/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2016.00578/full