Cancer Care through Early Detection & Intervention: NFCR

Cancer Formation

Cancer Formation

What is Cancer Formation?

Cancer develops through a multi-step process where cells accumulate genetic mutations and epigenetic alterations that enable them to bypass normal growth controls, avoid cell death, enhance proliferative signaling, promote angiogenesis, and acquire invasive and metastatic abilities. This involves inactivation of tumor suppressor genes and activation of oncogenes.

Understanding the molecular and cellular processes involved in cancer formation is crucial for developing more effective prevention strategies and treatments.

NFCR-Supported Researchers Working on Early Detection & Intervention

Azra Raza, M.D.
Columbia University

Ronald A. DePinho, M.D.
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Michelle A. Kelliher, Ph.D.

Michelle A. Kelliher, Ph.D.
UMass Cancer Center

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Spinach: A Superpower Against Colon Cancer

Did you know that colon cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States? Recent studies suggest that spinach is packed with bioactive compounds that can improve gut health and potentially lower the risk of colon cancer. Spinach plays an important role in nutrient supply. It is a superior source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, folic acid, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, and potassium. Additionally, spinach contains a substantial amount of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for the maintenance, improvement, and regulation of human tissues. Incorporating spinach into your diet can play a significant role in cancer prevention by delaying the need for colon removal and prolonged drug treatment. So, how can you add more spinach to your diet? Here’s a delicious Thai-inspired recipe that not only tastes great but also incorporates spinach to help harness its potential cancer-fighting properties. Coconut, Spinach, and Chickpeas Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Ingredients: 3 yellow onions 1 ½ cups sun-dried tomatoes 3 tbsp coconut oil 3 tbsp minced garlic 3 tbsp minced ginger ¾ tsp red pepper flakes 6 cups canned chickpeas 15 cups spinach 4 ½ cups canned coconut milk (lite) 1 tbsp ground ginger 1 ½ lemons 12 sweet potatoes ¾ cup fresh cilantro Recipe Steps: Peel and dice onion. Drain and finely chop sun-dried tomatoes. Heat 6 tsp coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic, minced ginger, sun-dried tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chickpeas (drained) and cook 2 minutes more. Add spinach one handful at a time until wilted, stirring in between handfuls to make room in the pot. When spinach has wilted, add coconut milk, ground ground ginger and 3 tbsp lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes more. Check seasoning to taste. Freeze if cooking in a batch. Preheat oven to 425° F (218 °C). Peel and dice sweet potato into 1-inch cubes. Toss in a bowl with 3 tsp melted coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast 30 minutes, or until tender. (Alternatively, keep whole, poke with a fork, and cook in the microwave 8 to 10 minutes.) This nutrient-packed meal not only offers a burst of flavors but also contributes to your overall health by incorporating spinach’s potential cancer-fighting properties. Enjoy this delicious dish and feel good about nourishing your body! NFCR’s Impact on Foods for Cancer Prevention Dr. Michael B. Sporn, a scientist long supported by NFCR, has inspired many to explore the relationship between diet and cancer. As a true pioneer of chemoprevention, he innovated new drugs that can be used as chemopreventive agents—when the field was in its infant stage. Throughout his career, he has synthesized several hundred naturally-occurring molecules called triterpenoids, which are found in many cancer-reducing foods. Dr. Sporn’s extensive research has laid the groundwork for understanding how dietary [...]

2023 Annual Report Now Available – A Letter from Our CEO

WITH YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT – WE CAN MAKE CURES POSSIBLE. We are pleased to share our 2023 Research Progress Report, highlighting examples of how our research funding has worked to save lives and what we are doing now to advance progress every day to defeat cancer. Throughout our history, NFCR has played an impactful role, and our research programs have helped pave the way for progress in new detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention approaches for cancer patients. We have provided critically needed funding to some of the most influential scientists and breakthrough discoveries that have advanced cancer research. NFCR is a unique charity in many ways. One of the most essential aspects of this organization is the community and network we have helped to build. NFCR is recognized for its unique spirit and ability to collaborate with all parts of cancer research, oncology, and patient care ecosystems. This sense of teamwork between key experts and thought leaders enables NFCR to ensure that the best and most innovative approaches to curing cancer are at our forefront. Your past loyal support has enabled NFCR and our funded scientists to make an impact to cancer research and cancer patients. Your continued support of NFCR is critical–Much more must be done! With your continued support, we can address the unmet needs in cancer research to help provide new hope for cancer patients. More resources are needed to expand our research programs, especially early detection and early intervention. The discoveries of past investments are leading the way for how patients are treated today. The investment today will lead the way for better treatments for our children and grandchildren tomorrow. We are all part of the cure, and when we work together, great things are possible. Note: This content originally appeared in NFCR’s 2023 Annual Report.

Skin Cancer Prevention: Follow These Skincare Tips

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer in the United States. Each year more than 5 million Americans are treated for skin cancer. Most skin cancer is caused by overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, both UVA and UVB. UV radiation can damage the DNA in your skin cells. When this damage affects the DNA of genes that control skin cell growth, skin cancer can develop. Here are guidelines that we all should practice to help keep ourselves and our families’ skin cancer-free. Use Sunscreen Properly. Choose Wisely. Select a water resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15, preferably 30 or higher, especially if you have fair skin. “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF15” (or higher) protects against all types of sun-induced skin damage if used as directed, they protect not only against sunburn, but can reduce the risk of skin cancer and early aging. By contrast, any sunscreen not labeled as “Broad Spectrum” or that has an SPF value between 2 and 14, has been shown to only prevent sunburn. Apply Generously and Early: Apply 1 ounce to cover your entire body. During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Apply 30 minutes before you are in the sun for sunscreen absorption by your skin. Re-apply Frequently. Every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming, sweating, toweling, or showering. If you are in the water for longer than 40 minutes, reapply, since even water-resistant sunscreen loses its effectiveness. Empty Your Bottle Quickly. Note the expiration date of the sunscreen bottle. After 3 years, the original strength may have decreased. Store your suncreen correctly. Keep the container from excessive heat and direct sun by storing it the shade—such as in a cooler or wrapped in a towel. Wear protective clothing: the tighter the weave, the more protection—if you can see light through clothing while holding up to light, then there is not much protection. Wear sunglasses and be sure they are UV-blocking. Protect your lips, too. Always wear lip balm or lipstick with a minimum SPF of 15 or higher. Take special care to protect the lower lip, which receives the most direct sunlight. Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect around 80% of solar UV radiation—nearly doubling your exposure. Avoid tanning lamps and beds. Use sunless self-tanning products as a safer alternative. REMEMBER, sunscreen should still be used even if you do use these self-tanning products. Learn more about skin cancer risks, signs & symptoms and more, including current NFCR-supported researchers working on prevention, detection, and treatment options. When is a mole cancer? Look for these signs… One half doesn’t match the appearance of the other half. Border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched or blurred. The color (pigmentation) is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown and black are present. Dashes of red, white and blue add to a mottled appearance. The size of the mole is greater than 1/4 inch (6 mm), about the size of a pencil eraser. Any growth [...]