Most cancer research focuses on ways to treat cancer once an individual is diagnosed, but what if researchers were able to determine how to prevent cancer? This is the mission of the Center for Cancer Prevention Research which is based at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. They look at how to prevent cancer before it strikes. The findings will decrease cancer risk and will ultimately save millions of dollars for the treatment of cancer.
New research that was recently presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, finds that a combination of caffeine and exercise may decrease cancer risk, in particular cancers caused by exposure to sunlight. Additionally, the combination of caffeine and exercise may help to prevent inflammation that is due to obesity-linked cancers, which will also decrease cancer risk. The researchers found that sunlight-related skin cancer risk was decreased with the combination of caffeine consumption and exercise in mice that had a high risk of developing cancer. The researchers expect that the results from the mice study will also be seen in the human population.
Results from the study showed that mice that took a caffeine dose and exercised using a running wheel had 62% less cancerous tumors. In addition, the volume of cancerous tissue, decreased by 85% in these mice when compared to mice that did not consume caffeine or exercise. The effects of caffeine or exercise alone also had positive results on the amount of cancerous tissue found, but to a lesser extent. It seems that the combination of exercise and caffeine has optimal benefits on decreasing cancerous tissue in the mice; both in number and size of tumors.
In addition to the decreased levels of cancerous tissue with caffeine consumption and exercise, this combination was also found to reduce weight and inflammation. Mice that had caffeine and exercise had decreased fat pad weight decreases of 62%. Additionally, development and size of cancerous tissue was also decreased. Again, caffeine and exercise alone also had positive results, but to a lesser degree. While the researchers of this study did not investigate how the combination of caffeine and exercise reduce cancer risk, they believe that there is a link between fat, inflammation and cancer. Inflammation dropped as much as 92% in mice that received the combination treatment. Fat tissue secretes an inflammatory compound, so less fat means less inflammation. The link that these researchers state between fat, inflammation and cancer supports previous research that found that inflammation is linked to skin cancer.
The findings from this research are exciting because they give insight on how to prevent cancer. Further research is needed to determine the mechanism by which the combination of caffeine and exercise work to decrease cancer risk, but these preliminary findings are promising. Additionally, researchers should determine if the results from the mice trial also stand up to human testing. For the time being, if you’re interested in how to prevent cancer, having a cup of coffee and exercising regularly may be a great way to decrease your cancer risk.