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Foundation Reaches Milestone: Issues Esophageal Cancer Research Funding For the First Time.

July 28, 2015

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation has issued its first round of funding for esophageal cancer research earlier this month.

The foundation awarded program director, Dr. Carlos Minacapelli and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnston Medical School grant funding.

In 2011, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation was established to raise awareness, encourage early detection and to fund research of esophageal cancer.  Since 2011, the foundation has both raised awareness and encouraged the importance of earliest possible detection throughout New England, across the United States and internationally.

“The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is excited to be a part of Dr. Minacapelli’s and Rutger’s research efforts in honor of all the brave men and women who were affected by esophageal cancer and to hopefully reduce incidence and improve outcomes for individuals in the future” President of the foundation stated.

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation would like to thank all of our supporters and donors who believe in this mission and who make these accomplishments possible.  However, this is just the beginning.  We received many other research requests that we were unable to fund at this time.  We need to continue our efforts to fundraise so that we may continue to fund research.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD or acid reflux disease, of which the most common symptom is chronic heartburn, is one of the primary risk factors associated with esophageal cancer.  Other risk factors include obesity, poor nutrition and smoking.  With over a 600% increase in the past decades, esophageal cancer is among the fastest growing and deadliest cancers in the United States and western world.

Currently, there are no standard or routine screenings to detect esophageal cancer in earlier stages. Symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, typically appear once the cancer has become advanced and the overall five-year survival rate is only 17.5%.  Despite its rapid increase and poor prognosis, esophageal cancer receives very little awareness and research funding.

To make a tax-deductible donation to The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, please visit: SALGI.org/donate.

 

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Study links abdominal fat (visceral) to increased risk of Barrett’s esophagus

February 14, 2014

A recent study shows that carrying more weight in the midsection may increase one’s risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer.

Health.Harvard.edu

Barrett’s esophagus is “a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) is damaged by stomach acid and changed to a lining similar to that of the stomach.”*  Barrett’s esophagus has been shown to be a precursor to esophageal cancer.  

This study linked a higher amount of visceral fat to a greater risk of Barrett’s esophagus.

The fat located in the abdominal region is either defined as visceral or subcutaneous. Visceral fat surrounds the organs in the abdominal region, while subcutaneous fat is located between the skin and the abdominal wall. 

Researchers reported that the elevated risk of Barrett’s esophagus related to the increase of visceral abdominal fat was found in both those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms and also those who do not experience GERD symptoms.

For a more information on the study, please refer to the following two articles:

“Visceral abdominal obesity measured by CT scan is associated with an increased risk of Barrett’s oesophagus: a case-control study.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

“Visceral adipose tissue increased risk for Barrett’s esophagus.” Healio Gastroenterology

*“Barrett’s esophagus.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine 


Is your heartburn affecting your sleep?

February 11, 2014

Suffering from heartburn, whether be it during the day or at night, is an annoyance that many Americans cope with, some on a daily basis. An alarming 60 million Americans experience it at least once a month and 25 million Americans suffer from heartburn every day. When heartburn is this frequent or severe, people may be diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, more commonly known as GERD.

The United States National Library of Medicine defines GERD as “a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).” This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle between the esophagus and stomach, becomes damaged or weakened.

If not properly treated, long-term sufferers of GERD can develop serious medical conditions, which include chronic cough or hoarseness, esophagitis, bleeding, scarring or ulcers of the esophagus and Barrett’s esophagus, an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus that can potentially raise the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

It is important to note that many patients who are diagnosed with GERD do not experience heartburn at all. Below are the most frequently reported symptoms of GERD:

• Heartburn (a symptom of acid reflux)
• Bad breath
• Burning or pain in the chest or throat
• Chronic cough
• Hoarseness or chronic sore throat
• Bitter taste in mouth
• Inflammation in the mouth and erosion of teeth
• Problems swallowing
• Asthma-like symptoms
• Excessive belching

GERD is amongst the most prevalent upper gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and most likely one of the most common disease diagnosed by Gastroenterologists across our nation.

For many, GERD does not just disrupt their daily routine, but their sleep as well. GERD sufferers who have trouble sleeping at night could also go on to experience other health problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, sleepiness during the day and restless leg syndrome.

It is best to first speak to a gastroenterologist or a primary health care provider to see what options are available to treat GERD effectively. Below are some helpful tips in order to reduce GERD symptoms and enjoy a better night’s sleep.

• Eat smaller meals
• Chew food slowly and thoroughly
• Say upright after meals
• Avoid foods which trigger your GERD symptoms (fats, spicy foods, alcohol)
• Keep a food journal to track your “trigger foods”
• Try sleeping with your head elevated. Either with extra pillows or a wedge pillow
• Restrict your eating in the evening
• Do not eat or drink anything two hours before bedtime (with the exception of water for medications.)

Again, please consult your doctor if you are having problems sleeping at night or are experiencing frequent or severe heartburn.  These suggestions are intended for informational purposes only.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Sources:
National Sleep Foundation
WebMD
American College of Gastroenterology 
 
 
 

Abdominal Fat Linked to Esophageal Cancer; Tips to Trim Your Waistline

November 22, 2013

New research shows that central adiposity (an accumulation of fat in the abdomen area) is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer. This research was published in the November issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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Being overweight, particularly in the mid-section, elevates not only the risk of developing esophageal cancer, as this new research states, but a number of other diseases, proven in other studies. Below are some tips to help reduce “belly fat” and improve overall health and wellness.

Eat one less cookie a day

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD, suggests in his book, YOU on a Diet: The Owner’s Manual for Waist Management to reduce your caloric intake by just 100 calories per day. That means, eat one less cookie, candy bar, can/bottle of soda or piece of holiday pie. This seemingly small change can have a huge impact. Dr. Oz suggests that it may help you to lose about 12 pounds per year*.

Get moving

Refer to Sir Isaac Newton’s Frist Law of Motion: “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.” Basically, the more you exercise the more you will burn and the more you rest, the more you will gain. Whether you are a triathlete or a couch potato, workout at your speed.

Count sheep

Studies have shown that when we are tired and are not sleeping properly, it negatively affects our appetite, which causes us not only to gain weight but make improper food choices. Keep your sleeping area calming, avoid technology right before bed and make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Build muscle

Strengthening your core (abdominal) and lower back muscles will help you shed belly fat fast. Remember to always practice safe lifting while exercising. It may also be helpful to consider working with a personal trainer for even just a few lessons to make sure you are working out right and to avoid injury. Ladies, muscle burns fat. Pay no attention to the myth that if lifting weights will cause your body to transform into a bodybuilder’s.

Eat breakfast, lunch, dinner AND snacks!

According to research, eating healthy meals and snacks regularly throughout the day will not only benefit your health but keep you more focused and energized. When we do not eat regularly, we make poor food choices and our body can go into “starvation-mode”, which can cause it to hold on to more fat. Dr. Oz recommends his patients avoid eating processed foods because they can cause you to still be hungry soon after you’re done brushing the crumbs away.

Ditch the elevator

For many, the majority of our day is spent sedentary. Whether we are at a desk in front of a computer at work, watching TV, playing video or online games, eating meals or driving in the car, we sit, sit and sit some more. The best way to burn extra calories every day is to move around more. It sounds simple, but you can burn a significant amount of calories by taking extra trips to the water cooler during the day at work, parking your car further away from the door, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator and even walking a bit further with your dog. Here are some tips to “workout” when you are at work!

Keep healthy snacks on hand

Pack healthy snacks and take them with you when you are on-the-go. Choose foods like almonds, celery, carrots, greek yogurt, berries and whole grain crackers. Keeping healthy options on-hand can help you avoid the dreaded vending machine and quiet your grumbling stomach. Again, sometimes when we are hungry, we end up making poor food choices.

Stress less

Easier said than done, right? Reduce your daily stress by meditating, practicing yoga, taking a walk, reading a book or sipping tea. Stress affects many aspects of our mental, emotional and physical health. Check out our Pinterest board “Namaste” for some great Yoga tips.

Don’t give up

Author Louis Sachar once stated ‘It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.’  Keep going, don’t give up and remember to be proud of all your achievements, no matter how big or how small. Positive thinking will keep you going through the good times and the bad.

As always, consult your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise or lifestyle. The aforementioned is for informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued for medical advice.


When it comes to Esophageal Cancer Prevention, All Pizzas are NOT Created Equal

November 12, 2013

There has been a lot of talk regarding pizza and its link to cancer prevention, specifically esophageal cancer prevention. While this new finding is quite exciting to pizza fans, it needs to be carefully explained, as all pizzas are not created equal when it comes to esophageal cancer prevention.

Silvano Gallus, PhD is an epidemiologist at the Instituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri,” in Milan, Italy and lead researcher of a study which focuses on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet: “Does pizza protect against cancer?

Gallus stated in a recent article from WebMD that “Italian pizza is less than 50% crust, 20% tomato sauce, 20% mozzarella cheese, and 4% olive oil” and continued that Italian pizza “is very different from fast-food pizza.”

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In fact, you can sometimes even find more than triple the amount of calories and fat in an American pizza than one found in a Pizzeria in Italy. “Traditional Italian Pizza” has a thin crust which is made from flour, yeast, water, olive oil (and nothing else) and topped with tomato sauce and a small serving of mozzarella.

This “fast-food pizza” found in America has a thicker crust made with refined carbohydrates, added preservatives, unhealthy oils and fats, and much heavier toppings. Gallus notes in the article that those refined carbohydrates have also “been directly associated with cancer of the upper digestive tract and colorectal cancer.” Gallus stated that there is “limited information on the potential influence of pizza and cancer risk.”

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The study showed “regular pizza eaters had 34% less risk of oral cavity and pharyngeal cancer, 59% less risk of esophageal cancer, and 25% less risk of colon cancer.”  So it seems that in actuality, certain types of pizza which are low in fat, high in nutrient may help you lower your risk of esophageal and other cancers. This is not surprising given the research conducted regarding the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.

Want to make your own Italian thin crust pizza at home? Check out this great recipe from Walks of Italy’s website: How to Make an Italian Pizza: The Simple, Step-by-Step Guide

To read WebMD’s full article, “Pizza Prevents Cancer?” Click here