Marathon update

20 miles in the books – 1 month to go!

One of the benefits of long training runs has been exploring parts of the city I’ve never really seen before – especially on foot. In the past few weeks I’ve run over the 59th Street Bridge and the Triborough Bridge. I’ve run along the Hudson River to the Little Red Lighthouse. Today, we ran down the Hudson River to Battery Park and up the East River – essentially a partial loop of Manhattan!

As we ran past Chinatown, we saw a group practicing a fan dance – something so unique and definitely something I’d not have ever seen if I wasn’t training. It makes me look forward to race day when I get to see even more of my city!

Together we’ve raised over $4500 to support Breast Cancer research! Every dollar counts in the fight! Thank you to all who have donated so far, please consider donating during Breast Cancer Awareness month!

http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR;jsessionid=00000000.app20101a?px=4073642&pg=personal&fr_id=3111&NONCE_TOKEN=91F3C2BDA6990E757955DF55C8CD3BE8

No Half Measures – I’m running the Full NYC Marathon

I’m running the NYC Marathon with Fred’s Team!

Running has been my passion since childhood. I started as a miler on the Middle School track team and although I was not always consistent with it, I’ve always found running to be an outlet for me. A way of clearing my head first thing in the morning. It didn’t hurt that it also helped me lose weight – 25 pounds in the past year!

As I got older running took on a new meaning – I started running for a cause. I did my first organized half marathon in honor of my wife, Lisa, who lives with Crohn’s Disease. I raised $25,000 at that race and was the third highest fundraiser in the country for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I ran several other half marathons for the CCFA and raised thousands more for them over the years. Which leads us to present day. Now I’m running the NYC Marathon for Fred’s Team with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Longer course, different cause.

On May 19, 2017 Lisa was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer. This type of breast cancer effects 10% of the breast cancer population. She’s never been one to take the common path, even with a breast cancer diagnosis. We went through a grueling year of mastectomies, chemotherapy, radiation and reconstruction. We’ve dealt with pain, vomiting, and hair loss. As sick as the chemo made her, she didn’t miss or delay a single dose. She needed 5 blood transfusions to get through chemo – including one on our anniversary – and never hesitated. Cancer picked the wrong woman to pick a fight with! Lisa dealt with all this with style, grace and humor – like the true warrior she is. Click for Lisa’s reflections on chemo. While the “heavy” lifting of treatment is in the rear view mirror, she’ll be on anti-hormone treatments for at least another 10 years.

No more half measures!

Just as Lisa’s treatment required aggressive therapy, I’m fulfilling a dream of mine – to run a full Marathon. So far, the longest I’ve run is 18 miles, and in 2 months I’ll be running 26.2 miles – hopefully under 4 hours. Please consider supporting me and this cause – while great strides have been made in this fight, there is so much more to do. 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer – making it almost impossible for anyone reading this not to know someone affected.

To donate: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR/RunsWalks/FredsTeam?px=4073642&pg=personal&fr_id=3111

Thank you!

Processed meats – cancer risk or hype

Bacon is perhaps the archetypical of processed meats – whether typical US or Canadian – it is one of the most identified foods by sight or smell.  Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified  processed meats as a cancer risk, equating it to smoking.  How did they come to this decision, and can we infer the same risk about all meat – processed or not?

What did the WHO say?

The WHO evaluated data from about 800 studies of meat intake and cancer.  About 14 of them were designed well enough to analyze the information.  There were another 15 studies that had strong design to help with the decision-making.  Based on these 29 studies, they found evidence that processed meat increased cancer risk – specifically colon cancer by about 17%.  The data for red meat in general was not strong enough to make an association.

How should we interpret the WHO statement?

The association of processed meats and GI tract cancer has been known for quite some time.  In cultures where these foods are consumed regularly, stomach cancer has had an increased rate, leading to screening programs.  The statement from the WHO adds strength to the association, and should encourage people who have multiple risks for colon cancer to consider their diet as a controllable  risk factor.

What does this mean for most people?

The risks for colon cancer are age, smoking, a low fiber diet, family history and now processed meats.  Just like most health decisions we make, our diets should be modified based on our risks.  Moderation, or occasional consumption of processed meats is a better choice than daily consumption.  Of course, getting a colonoscopy based on your doctor’s recommendation further minimizes the risk of developing colon cancer!

Life is full of choices – moderation and a varied diet seems to be one of the better ones.  In the words of Joe Jackson, “Everything gives you cancer”

The path to wellness begins with a proper diagnosis.

 

Got Milk? Too much of a good thing?

The USDA recommends 3 cups of milk or dairy a day.  This is mostly to promote bone health.  However, it has also been linked to increased cancer risk in some studies, others have supported health benefits.  A recent study tried to sort out these conflicting results by separating milk from other dairy products and looking at death rates, heart disease, cancer rates and fractures.
What they found was surprising – adults who drank 3 or more glasses of milk a day died sooner, had more fractures as well as heart disease and cancer.  Those with similar dairy intake, but from fermented dairy like yogurt, cheese, sour milk, etc. had a lower incidence of death and disease.  The difference?  Lactose content.

What is lactose?

Lactose is a sugar found in milk.  When digested, it is broken down into glucose and galactose.  Galactose has been linked to oxidation and inflammation – triggers for disease.  The study authors hypothesized that the difference in lactose, therefore galactose intake with milk versus other dairy products is the cause of the difference if death and disease

What did they do?

The researches used 2 health registries of residents in Sweden where records are centralized, totaling over 61,000 women and 45,000 men and sent them questionnaires that looked at milk and dairy intake.  They then followed their records from the early 1990’s until now, looking at death and disease rates.  What they found was that women who drank 3 or more glasses of milk daily were:
  • 1.9x more likely to die
  • 1.4x more likely to get cancer
  • 1.6x more likely to fracture a hip
In men, the effects were less pronounced:
  • 1.1x more likely to die, mostly from cardiovascular disease
  • no increase in fractures
They also messed marks of inflammation and oxidation in the blood of participants and found higher levels of both in those with higher milk intake.

So what does this mean?

There are some interesting associations based on this study.
  • ingestion of milk, with it’s higher lactose content, may be linked to increase risk of disease
  • ingestion of low lactose dairy products (yogurt, cheese) is associated with a decrease of disease
  • moderate intake of milk is not associated with increased disease risk

There are some limits to this study

  • the data is based on 1 or 2 food surveys, and subject to people’s memory and answers
  • the population studied was very uniform – 2 or 3 counties in Sweden – which may limit generalizing to the population at large
  • All subjects were over 39 years old so no conclusions can be made about children and young adults
  • Lactose free milk was not evaluated

What can we take away from this?

  • High amounts of lactose may contribute to disease based on its breakdown into oxidation and inflammation promoting compounds
  • Dairy foods with low lactose contents are associated with lower death rates and illness
  • Moderation again seem to be the word of the day – it is possible to have too much of a good thing!

The path to wellness begins with a proper diagnosis