A new study by scientists has revealed that a low level of folate in our diet increases risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Possible mechanisms of the disease were also investigated using molecular biological techniques.
The intake of an adequate amount of dietary folate has also been shown to prevent a number of other diseases.
Colorectal cancer affects approximately five percent of the population.
Funding for this study was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
In other cancer news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the targeted drug Gleevec for use against five additional diseases. They are: Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, a solid tumor that usually begins as a hard lump in the skin of the chest, abdomen, or leg; Philadelphia chrosome-positive acuta lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) that has come back after treatment or no longer responds to treatment; certain forms of myelodysplastic syndrome and myeloproliferative disorders, which are bone marrow diseases; another form of leukemia known as hypereosinophilic syndrome/chronic eosinophillic leukemia; and aggressive systemic mastocytosis, a disease that creates too many mast cells, a type of white blood cell.
Gleevac was previously approved for use against chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST).
Side effects from Gleevec are typically mild, according to drug manufacturer Novartis.
In a recent letter to doctors, however, Novartis and the FDA also warned that Gleevec may be associated with heart problems in some patients.
Specifically, the drug was linked to the development of congestive heart failure in a few patients.
Both Novartis and the FDA advised doctors to monitor patients on Gleevec for signs of heart trouble and treat them if it develops.
According to the American Heart Association, symptoms of heart failure can include shortness of breath, persistent coughing or wheezing, and fluid retention that may cause swelling in the legs of abdomen.
In unrelated cancer news, decades after treatment for childhood cancer, many survivors who were offered help quitting smoking jumped at the chance to enroll in a special telephone-based quit program based at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The specially-designed program, called the Partnership for Health (PFH), was similar to the telephone help lines, like the American Cancer Society’s Quitline programs, now available in many states, except the counselors were cancer survivors themselves.
“Many people would admit up front that smoking was bad for them but it was just something they started doing, maybe to fit in with friends,” said Richard N. Boyajian, RN, a program counselor.