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In an analysis involving more than , men and , women in the National Institutes of Health -American Association of Retired Persons NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, high intakes of total calcium, dietary calcium, and supplemental calcium were associated with an approximately 20 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer among men and an approximately 30 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer among women Findings from two large randomized , placebo-controlled clinical trials , the Calcium Polyp Prevention Study 14 , 15 and the European Cancer Prevention Organisation Intervention Study 16 showed that daily supplementation with to mg elemental calcium was associated with a reduced risk of recurrence of colorectal polyps known as adenomas in both men and women.

Adenomas are thought to be the precursors of most colorectal cancers. In these trials, individuals who previously had one or more large adenomas removed during colonoscopy were randomly assigned to receive calcium supplementation or a placebo, and the rates of polyp recurrence and other factors were compared between the groups.

The Calcium Polyp Prevention Study involved participants who were randomly assigned to receive 3 grams of calcium carbonate mg elemental calcium daily for 4 years or a placebo and then receive follow-up colonoscopies approximately 9 months later and again 3 years after that. Compared with those in the placebo group, the individuals assigned to take calcium had about a 20 percent lower risk of adenoma recurrence 14 , The European Cancer Prevention Organisation Intervention Study involved participants who were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: 2 grams of elemental calcium daily from calcium gluconolactate and calcium carbonate , 3 grams of fiber supplementation daily, or a placebo The results showed that calcium supplementation was associated with a modest reduction in the risk of adenoma recurrence, but this finding was not statistically significant.

The calcium supplements in this trial also contained vitamin D international units [ IU ]. During the trial, cases of invasive colorectal cancer were diagnosed in the supplementation group and cases were diagnosed in the placebo group. The report concluded that calcium probably has a protective effect against colorectal cancer The results of some studies suggest that a high calcium intake may decrease the risk of one or more types of cancer, whereas other studies suggest that a high calcium intake may actually increase the risk of prostate cancer.

In a randomized trial that included nearly 1, healthy, postmenopausal Nebraska women, individuals were randomly assigned to receive daily calcium supplementation alone — mg elemental calcium , calcium supplementation — mg elemental calcium combined with vitamin D supplementation IU , or a placebo for 4 years The incidence of all cancers combined was approximately 60 percent lower for women who took the calcium plus vitamin D supplements compared with women who took the placebo.

A lower risk of all cancers combined was also observed for women who took calcium supplements alone, but this finding was not statistically significant. The numbers of individual types of cancer diagnosed during this study were too low to be able to draw reliable conclusions about cancer-specific protective effects. The results of some but not all studies suggest that a high intake of calcium may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

For example, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition analyzed the intakes of animal foods meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, etc. Calcium from nondairy sources, however, was not associated with increased risk Calcium from supplements was not associated with increased prostate cancer risk In contrast, results from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study showed no increased risk of prostate cancer associated with total calcium, dietary calcium, or supplemental calcium intakes 14 , Other studies have suggested that intakes of low-fat milk, lactose , and calcium from dairy products may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, but this risk reduction has not been found in all studies 14 , Calcium from nondairy sources was not associated with a reduction in risk In this study, higher versus lower calcium intakes from the diet, from supplements, and from total dairy products were not associated with reduced risk Although the exact mechanism by which calcium may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer is unclear, researchers know that, at the biochemical level, calcium binds to bile acids and fatty acids in the gastrointestinal tract to form insoluble complexes known as calcium soaps.

This reduces the ability of the acids or their metabolites to damage cells in the lining of the colon and stimulate cell proliferation to repair the damage.

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Calcium may also act directly to reduce cell proliferation in the lining of the colon or cause proliferating colon cells to undergo differentiation , which, in turn, leads to a reduction in cell proliferation. Calcium is absorbed passively no cellular energy required in the intestines by diffusing through the spaces between cells.

It is also absorbed actively cellular energy required through intestinal cells by binding to a transport protein known as calbindin.

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The production of calbindin is dependent on vitamin D Although substantial evidence suggests that calcium may provide some protection against colorectal cancer, the evidence of potential benefit from calcium supplements is limited and inconsistent. Therefore, NCI does not recommend the use of calcium supplements to reduce the risk of colorectal or any other type of cancer. Note: The information in this fact sheet is not to be used as the basis for making health claims about calcium-containing products.

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What to know about cancer

Dr Tan Yah Yuen explains how doctors calculate your risk of breast cancer, and what preventive options you have based on your risk. Dr Lisa Wong, gynaecologist, explains how minimally invasive surgery improves treatment of gynaecological cancers. The truth is, too much and too fast can be counterproductive for your next game. Prostate cancer is widespread but can be kept at bay through early screening and treatment. Dr Gerald Tan, urologist, explains how.

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It is an urgent humanitarian need for people worldwide with cancer and other chronic fatal diseases and particularly needed in places with a high proportion of patients in advanced stages of cancer where there is little chance of cure. Effective public health strategies, comprising of community- and home-based care are essential to provide pain relief and palliative care for patients and their families in low-resource settings.

Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study Global burden of cancers attributable to infections in a synthetic analysis. Lancet Glob Health. Cancer 12 September Key facts Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer.

Around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.

Late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis and treatment are common. The economic impact of cancer is significant and is increasing. Only 1 in 5 low- and middle-income countries have the necessary data to drive cancer policy 5. Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body.

Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs, the latter process is referred to as metastasizing. Metastases are a major cause of death from cancer. Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 9.