Science Says: Renew, refocus, reduce risk

Lowering risk of cancer through the science of prevention

On Feb. 1, Dr. Tom Lynch spoke with Hutch researchers Drs. Jonathan Bricker, Anne McTiernan and Marian Neuhouser about how to make and maintain healthful changes in diet, exercise and more. Lynch also spoke about COVID-19 with infectious disease physician Dr. Catherine Liu.

Video by Fred Hutch

How can we move toward renewal after two years of nonstop resilience? On Feb. 1, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center President and Director and Raisbeck Endowed Chair holder Dr. Thomas J. Lynch spoke with Fred Hutch experts about the science of cancer prevention.  

At the virtual Science Says community event, Lynch and the panelists talked about how to fine-tune behaviors — especially diet, exercise and smoking — to lower our risk of cancer and other diseases. Here are a few top-level take-homes:

  • Listen to your body: “If you're eating or drinking more, if you're not exercising, if you're feeling fatigued from COVID — that is an invitation from your body to look inside,” said psychologist Dr. Jonathan Bricker, who creates apps to help people quit smoking and lose weight. “The secret to self-control is being willing to notice and move toward discomfort instead of pushing it away.”
  • Just move: “You don't have to be an athlete to lower your risk,” said Dr. Anne McTiernan, a physician and epidemiologist, adding that walking or doing another type of exercise for 30 minutes five days a week can reduce your cancer risk by 10%-20%. “Any amount of exercise is helpful — do something you enjoy and that fits into your life!”
  • Small efforts can have a big impact: Making and maintaining tiny lifestyle tweaks — like regularly drinking a nonfat latte instead of a cinnamon dolce latte, for instance — can cut your consumption of sugar, fat, and calories and reduce your risk for some types of cancer, noted Dr. Marian Neuhouser, head of the Fred Hutch Cancer Prevention Program.

Lynch also got answers to new questions about COVID-19 from infectious disease physician Dr. Catherine Liu

Register for the next Science Says

Trevor Noah, host of “The Daily Show,” will join Fred Hutch Science Says live on Tuesday, March 22, at 9 a.m. PDT to talk with Hutch scientists about increasing access to the latest solutions for cancer, COVID-19 and HIV. Register today

Locally in the Seattle area, "our case counts have started to decline, which is has been positive news," Liu said during the event's COVID Corner portion. "Though numbers still continue to remain quite, quite high, so we continue to urge people to stay cautious while we learn about this new variant." She also discussed the latest data on BA.2 (a newer subvariant of omicron), the anticipated role of vaccination for children under age 5, and the immunological impact of receiving a booster dose vs. getting infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Looking for more resources or curious about open studies?

For other resources, and info about clinical studies our panelists mentioned, check out these links:

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