Is it the end of red meat?


When weighing the cancer risk of some meats to colorectal cancer moderation is the new normal.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) a subsidiary of the World Health Organization, (WHO) ruled that processed meat causes colorectal cancer and red meat e.g. pork, lamb, beef probably does.

The finding was reached by a group of 22 international scientists who scrutinized existing research in more than 800 studies- and concluded there is enough evidence to say that processed meats such as hot dogs and ham increase the risk colorectal cancer. They found that eating as little as 50 grams (almost a pound) of processed meat a day drives up that risk by 18 per cent.

This is not really new; health experts have long recommended limiting the amount of processed meat and red meat from our diet.
Is this latest warning enough to stop people from eating processed meats or red meats? Likely not. But you can moderate your diet—have that occasional hot dog and limit your intake of red meat.
According to Registered Dietician and columnist Leslie Beck, processed meats should be eaten sparingly, if at all. Processed meats refer to meats preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. Ham, bacon, corned beef; pastrami, salami, bologna, sausages, hot dogs, bratwursts, frankfurters and beef jerky are processed meats. So are turkey (and chicken) sausages, smoked turkey and turkey bacon. However, most studies have looked only at processed red meats.

Diets high in red and processed meats are linked to a greater risk of Type 2 diabetes. A steady intake of fat- and sodium-laden processed meats can also increase the likelihood of high blood pressure, being overweight and cardiovascular disease.
But she says that you don’t have to stop eating red meat, its good a good source of high quality protein It is a good source of high-quality protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc. That said if you eat red meat frequently and in large portions, you should cut back. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends a limit of three servings – three ounces each – per week.
Leslie also recommends varying your protein source by adding fish and chicken to your menu, replacing ground beef for ground turkey or chicken in burgers, chili and pasta sauce recipes. Replace deli meats in sandwiches and salads with tuna, salmon, egg or cooked fresh chicken or turkey. Eat at least four meatless meals each week, such as lentil soup, bean salad, chickpea curry, black bean tacos, pasta e fagioli, tofu stir-fry and vegetarian chili.
As always eating a diet that includes a variety of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. So does limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise. It is simplistic to blame one food or one habit as being the “cause”, rather increasing risk relates to lots of health choices.
Staying healthy requires much more than eating less meat. For healthy recipes visit Medisys Nutrition Tips and Recipes


The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.



Top ways to protect prevent skin cancer

shutterstock_564313852.jpgSkin Cancer in Canada is on the rise While the rate of new cancer cases and death rates for many types of cancers are going down, Melanoma or –skin cancer- is on the rise.   It is the most common cancer in Canada affecting one in five people today. A tan especially among young people is associated with attractiveness and looking healthy, but there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Using tanning beds and getting sun burnt in childhood and |Some alarming facts from the Canadian Cancer Society

  • Melanoma is the most common and deadliest forms of cancer in young people between the ages of 15 and 29.
  • Using a tanning bed before the age of thirty-five increases your risk of developing skin cancer by 75 per cent.
  • UV rays from tanning beds can be five times stronger than the mid-day summer sun.
  • Tanned skin is damaged skin. Even when the tan fades, the damage is still there.While it’s wonderful to feel the warmth of the summer sun and enjoy the outdoors sun there are also risks. Here are a few ways to protect you from the Skin Cancer Foundation
  • The sun is most intense between 10 AM and 4 PM –so seek the shade between those hours.
  • Do not burn.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens can be used on babies if needed, over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
  • If you are a beach goer, remember the intensity of sun exposure is elevated. Both water and sand can reflect up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays, however, beach and pool activities can be enjoyed safely as long as people take some extra precautions if f you use plenty of sunscreen
  • For effective ultraviolent A (UVA) radiation protection, select products that have some combination of the following ingredients: avobenzone, ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM), oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Everyday sun exposure counts…Sun Protection is year round While we mostly think about protecting ourselves against the sun during the summer months, protection should be year round to reduce your lifetime sun exposure. So make putting on sunscreen a daily habit.

#sun #suntan #summer #healthy #skincancer

Disclaimer The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without

Personalized Medicine –When should you consider genetic testing?

cropped-dr-brown.jpgSince the Human Genome project made it possible to map the entire DNA of a human in the 1990’s, it has become a powerful information tool. Learning an individual’s personal genetic make up can lead to improved diagnosis of certain illnesses. We also can advise you, if you are at higher risk because of a disease or condition that runs in your family.  It can help physicians like me make more informed decisions when prescribing medicines.  It is truly miraculous and a continually emerging and exciting field.

Breast cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes, prostate cancer are just a few of the diseases and conditions that can be tested. However, before you begin the process, I would suggest you discuss your concerns with a qualified genetic counselor.  And that counselor should be certified by the Canadian Association of Genetic Counselors. (

Sometimes, the first and only step you may need to take, is knowing your family history for a medical condition to be flagged with your counselor.
 For instance, the vast majority of breast cancer cases occur by chance and are not as the result of genetic factors.  Genetic counseling can be incredibly reassuring. Although rare, inherited changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which was the case for actress Angelina Jolie, are linked to a high lifetime risk of breast, ovarian and other specific cancers.  In that case, preventative measures were taken.  And that too is reassuring.

Once you and your counselor decide genetic testing is right for you, all that is needed is a saliva sample to begin the process. In a future blog, I will discuss genetic testing and medication responses. We are learning how genetic testing can help in prescribing the best medication to treat a condition or disease. And we can tailor medication to specifically treat an individual…. for we all know, it is NOT one size fits all.



HPV- Not just for girls & women. HPV can also cause cancer in boys & men

shutterstock_566860909.jpgThe Human Papillomavirus  (HPV) is among the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the world with some strains leading to various cancers as well as external genital warts

What this  really means is that we now understand what is causing cancer in these regions.   It’s very exciting, because if we understand what causes a cancer, we can begin to prevent it. 

According to Health Canada,  as many as 75% of sexually active men and women will have at least one HPV infection in their lifetime, with the highest rate found in people under 25.  What
we don’t fully understand is why some people clear the infection and never get cancer while others have persistent infections, which leads to abnormalities.
  Cervical cancer is the most common HPV- associated cancer worldwide, so the majority of HPV research has
been focused on understanding the role of HPV and cervical disease.
Therefore the first trials involved girls and women. As a result, when the
vaccine was introduced in 2006 in Canada, it was launched as an immunization programme for school aged girls. However, as research continued, much more is now known about the role of HPV in causing cancers and disease in males.  Therefore in 2012, the
National Advisory Committee on Immunization reviewed its’ recommendations and now recommends the HPV vaccine not only for girls and women but also for boys and
men. It is so exciting that we now have a vaccine that will reduce the risk of cancers in
both sexes.  How do we know this? In my next blog, I will take a look at some of the published
research findings, which show how effective vaccination really is!