STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS

With the holidays coming up, the highlight for many people during this season is gathering with family and friends and enjoying favorite holiday treats. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your holidays to the fullest while not increasing your waistline.

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MAKING AND KEEPING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Only 8 percent of individuals achieved their resolutions in 2016, according to Statistic Brain. This is likely due to most people having unrealistic expectations about the speed, ease and consequences of the resolutions they make. People attempting self-change rarely succeed the first time; most need five or six attempts, according to a paper published in American Psychologist by Janet Polivy and Peter Herman. The authors suggest false hope syndrome is the cause for failure.

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HEALTHY HOLIDAY OPTIONS

The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. These celebrations often consist of many delicious treats and hardy meals. You can still maintain a healthy diet with a little thought and planning in advance. Research from a recent Web-based survey found 18 percent of people feel they cannot eat healthily during the holidays because they don’t want to miss out on their favorite foods. You can still eat the foods you enjoy this season, just in moderation.

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decades, according to the Mayo Clinic. Yet during the same period, cancer in the gastroesophageal junction – the area where the top of the stomach meets the lower end of the esophagus – have become more common. This is where adenocarcinomas usually develop.


The highest incidences of stomach cancer are in East Asia – Korea, China, and Japan – accounting for 60 percent of all cases. It is not exactly known why the rates are higher in there. One theory posits several cultures in East Asia and Eastern and Northern Europe still adhere to older forms of food preservation despite refrigeration. Preserved foods and salt cures, which may be eaten three times a day every day in these regions, may lead to a higher incidence of H. pylori.

Gastric or stomach cancer begins when cancer cells form in the mucus-producing cells of the inner lining of the stomach. These cells can grow into tumors called adenocarcinomas. The disease usually grows slowly over many years. Nearly 1 million cases of stomach cancer are diagnosed yearly, making it the fourth most common cancer worldwide, according to the National Institutes of Health. In the United States in 2016, about 26,370 cases of gastric cancer were diagnosed, representing 1.6 percent of all new cancer cases, according to Oncolink (www.oncolink.org), the first cancer information Web site maintained by a group of oncology healthcare professionals. According to the American Cancer Society, about 28,000 cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed this year and about 10,960 people will die from it.


There are several suspected risk factors for gastric cancer. Diets with nitrates and nitrites and foods preserved through salting, smoking or pickling are associated with an increased risk of disease. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and certain of its subtypes can convert substances in some foods into chemicals that cause mutations in the DNA of the cells in the stomach lining. Long-term infection of the stomach with this germ may lead to inflammation, called chronic atrophic gastritis, and pre-cancerous changes of the inner lining of the stomach. People with stomach cancer have a higher rate of H. pylori infection than other people, although some people with the bacteria never

STOMACH CANCER RATES FALLING WORLDWIDE

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

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develop cancer. Gastric cancer can also be caused by an autoimmune reaction, such as pernicious anemia, where the stomach doesn’t produce enough acid. Another possible pre-cancerous change is intestinal metaplasia, where the normal lining of the stomach is replaced with cells that closely resemble the cells that usually line the intestine.


Other risk factors for stomach cancer include tobacco use, heavy alcohol use (more than four drinks a day) and genes. A genetic link has been found in about 5 percent to 10 percent of cases, according to Oncolink. People with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis and Peutz Jeghers syndrome are all predisposed to gastric cancer. It also seems people with blood type A are at increased risk for stomach cancer. There are still many cases with no clear indication of the cancer’s cause.


Demographically, stomach cancer is more common in men. There is a sharp increase in stomach cancer rates in people over age 50 years; most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are between 60-80 years old. Rates of cancer in the main part of the stomach body have been falling worldwide for several