Volume 3, Issue 3
January 21, 2010
How men can increase their
odds of surviving cancer
Cancer is the one disease I can't promise my patients they won't get. In my experience, heart disease, infectious diseases, autoimmune disease, type-2 diabetes, strokes - all of these - are 100% preventable.ÿ However, there seems to be no mercy with cancer.
While it's impossible to completely prevent cancer, there are many things that you can do every day to minimize the risk. And the one I'm going to tell you about today is safe, easy, and free.ÿ Some people even enjoy it.
Researchers looked at 8,677 men of various ages. All of them were participating in the Aerobics Centre Longitudinal Study at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas. The Institute had followed these men for 23 years, so their information was readily available. The researchers wanted to see if there was any statistical association between how strong or fat these men were and their likelihood of dying from cancer.
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First they assessed the overall strength of the men. They did this by measuring the maximal amount of weight that each man could bench press only once. They added this to the maximal amount of weight that each could leg press.
Then they measured the body fat content of the men.ÿ They did this by determining their body mass index (BMI), percent body fat, and waist circumference. And then they looked at how strong or fat the men were who ended up dying from cancer during that 23-year period. Here's what they found.
When they compared men in the highest 30% of strength to the men in the lowest 30% of strength, they found that the weaker men had a 70% increase in their chance of dying from cancer.
When they compared men who had a lower body fat (less than 25%) to men with a higher body fat (over 25%) they found that the overweight men had a 50% increase in the chance of dying from cancer.
And when they compared men who had a waist measurement less than 102 cm (roughly 40 inches) to men with a higher measurement, they found that the fatter men had a 36% increase in the chance of dying from cancer.
This is great news for you if you're an overweight man. It means that your risk of dying from cancer is not determined by your weight; rather it's a function of your strength. So as long as you have a lot of muscle underneath that fat, you will be in the lowest risk category of dying from cancer.
It's also not such great news for thin men like me. In order to minimize my chance of dying from cancer, I have to do much more than just stay thin and in good cardiovascular shape, I have to stay strong too. If you're in this category, make sure you do appropriate (for age and ability) weight training to stay or get strong. It could save your life if you get cancer.
Finding your Real Cures,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
REF: Jonatan R. Ruiz1, Xuemei Sui2, et al. Muscular Strength and Adiposity as Predictors of Adulthood Cancer Mortality in Men. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. 2009;May 18(5):1468 76).
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