NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
October 19, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 40 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

NCI Cancer Bulletin Archive

Page Options

  • Print This Page
  • Print This Document
  • View Entire Document
  • Email This Document
  • View/Print PDF

The information and links on this page are no longer being updated and are provided for reference purposes only.

Featured Article

Large Portion of Late-Stage Breast Cancers Associated With Absence of Screening

Increasing mammography screening rates and investing in research to improve breast cancer detection technologies should be top priorities, according to authors of a study published in the October 20 Journal of the National Cancer Institute. As many as 92 percent of late-stage breast cancer cases in the United States could be diagnosed and treated earlier, when there is greater likelihood of effective treatment, if the healthcare system focused on recruiting women who have not been recently screened, and if early detection techniques could be improved to more accurately detect cancer. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Cancer Research Network, a consortium of integrated health plans.

Study results indicated that not having had a screening mammogram for 1 to 3 years prior to diagnosis was associated with 52 percent of late-stage breast cancer cases. The authors state that to improve breast cancer outcomes, priority should be placed on reaching unscreened women and encouraging them to have mammograms - especially older, unmarried, less educated, and/or low income women, whom they found were less likely to have been screened. "The good news is that there is a lot known about how to reach women who have never been screened or who fail to get regular mammograms," said Dr. Stephen Taplin, a senior scientist in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences and lead author of the study. "The challenge is to put this knowledge into practice." Read more  

Director's Update

Nutrition: A New Frontier in Cancer Research

The obesity epidemic has generated intense concern in the medical community, and rightfully so. It has had devastating consequences for our nation's health and health care system, driving rates of several chronic illnesses into the stratosphere and heaping tens of billions of dollars onto an already strained health care budget. And as we are beginning to better appreciate, obesity has also significantly affected cancer incidence, progression, and death rates. In fact, the most recent estimates attribute 3.2 percent of all new cancers - 14 percent of cancer deaths in men and 20 percent in women - to obesity.

NCI, on its own and in partnership with other HHS agencies, is focused on better understanding the link between obesity and cancer and, at the same time, working to minimize the epidemic's impact. We are also beginning to better understand that the influence of diet on cancer goes well beyond questions of quantity and energy expenditure.

To be sure, the food we eat every day is remarkably complex. Its nutrients and molecules have profound genetic and cellular effects that directly influence cancer susceptibility. The components of our daily diet - the calcium in milk, the zinc in chicken and nuts, the flavonoids in onions and carrots, the fatty acids in tuna or avocados - all alter a broad array of cancer-related events, including inflammatory response, carcinogen metabolism, cell death, and DNA repair. Read more  

The NCI Cancer Bulletin is produced by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). NCI, which was established in 1937, leads the national effort to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer. Through basic, clinical, and population-based biomedical research and training, NCI conducts and supports research that will lead to a future in which we can identify the environmental and genetic causes of cancer, prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.

For more information on cancer, call 1-800-4-CANCER or visit

NCI Cancer Bulletin staff can be reached at