Friday, October 29, 2010

Belly Fat, Testosterone, and Pancreatic Cancer in Men

Scientists at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey have experimented with testosterone blockers as a way of stopping the growth of pancreatic cancer cells in test tube experiments. At least in the laboratory, blocking the male sex hormone worked independently of the effects of other treatments. We don't have anticancer medications for pancreatic adenocarcinoma that work by blocking sex hormones, yet, but this is something a man's body can already do, especially if he's overweight.

In men, fat cells can transform the male sex hormone testosterone into the female sex hormone testosterone. Both men and women have both testosterones and estrogens in their systems, but the critical factor is the relative ratio. Men have much higher levels of the various testosterones. Women have much higher levels of the various estrogens.

In both sexes, fat cells (which don't just store fat) work as a buffer to keep the ratios right. If you grow especially large and numerous fat cells, however, these hormones can get out of balance.

In men, it's a spiraling cycle. Fat cells reduce testosterone levels, and when there's less testosterone in the blood, then the fat-dissolving enzyme lipase does not work as well. When lipase does not work as effectively, fat cells get fatter. They can degrade more testosterone. This in turn makes lipase even less effective, and the plasma concentrations of the male sex hormone just keep going down.

In pancreatic cancer, this may be a good thing. So that also means that a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, unless your doctor advises you otherwise, absolutely is not the time to go on a weight-loss diet!

If you are obese, you are at greater risk of surgical complications if your doctors decide to operate--but you won't have time to lose weight before they do. Once pancreatic cancer has developed, it's important to nourish your whole body, and to let your belly fat help you in your fight.

You may also be interested in:

"Zapping" Pancreatic Cancer with Radiofrequency Ablation
Tofu and the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
Curcumin and Soy Isoflavones Against Pancreatic Cancer
Sleep and Pancreatic Cancer
Probiotics and Pancreatic Cancer
Stopping Pancreatic Inflammation to Stop Pancreatic Cancer
Could Curcumin Cure Pancreatic Cancer?
Chinese Herbal Medicine for Pancreatic Cancer

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