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Wine May Protect Against Cancer

Study Shows Wine Drinkers With Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Less Likely to Die or Have Relapse

Very Well-Done Steak Tied to Pancreatic Cancer

A second study showed that eating very well-done red meat -- to the point of being burned or charred -- may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by almost 60%.

Kristin Anderson, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said the finding was linked to consumption of very well-done steaks prepared by frying, grilling, or barbecuing. Cooking in these ways can form carcinogens, which do not form when meat is baked or stewed.

The study involved 62,581 healthy men and women who filled out surveys asking what type of meat they ate, how they prepared their meat, and how well they liked their meat done. Over the course of the next nine years, 208 participants developed pancreatic cancer.

In addition to turning down the heat, Anderson offers these cooking tips:

  • Cut away parts of red meat that are burned or charred.
  • Microwave meat for a few minutes and pour off the juices before cooking it on the grill.
  • When grilling, do not let flames lap at the meat. Wrap meat in foil to protect it from the direct flame.
  • Cook meat in water or another liquid to prevent it from getting too hot.

So what about advice to cook meat until it is well done to avoid food-borne bacteria such as salmonella that can cause serious illness, or even death?

"Everything in moderation," advises Andrea Burnett-Hartman, MPH, a doctoral student at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle whose own work showed that charred meat was not linked to the development of precancerous growths in the colon.

"You don't want it red in the middle," she tells WebMD. "And choose poultry over red meat."

Green Tea Doesn't Mix With Cancer Drug

A third study suggests some cancer patients should avoid the so-called "miracle herb" green tea. It interferes with the metabolism of Velcade, a drug often prescribed for multiple myeloma, says Thomas Chen, MD, a neurosurgeon at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

The research was done on cancer cells in the test tube and in animals. "We could not perform a clinical trial [of humans] because our theory was that drinking green tea was harmful," says researcher Alex Schonthal, PhD, associate professor of molecular microbiology at the University of Southern California.

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