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Thread: Grete Waitz, Cancer and Chronic Inflammation from Lifelong Distance Running page

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    choppedliver's Avatar
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    Grete Waitz, Cancer and Chronic Inflammation from Lifelong Distance Running

    Grete Waitz died at 56 after a 6-year battle with cancer yesterday.

    Marathon great Grete Waitz dies at 57 from cancer - Yahoo! News

    I do not know whether Waitz continued her running routines after her competitive years, like many former competitive Marathoners do. I also do not know what kind of cancer she died from or how she may have contracted it.

    Mark and Grete were coevals and I'm sure Mark knew of her exploits. What I'm curious is whether it is possible that chronic, low-level inflammation which gives rise to degenerative diseases could have also facilitated the development of cancer. I understand and accept that such low level inflammation throughout the body can make one vulnerable to diabetes, CVD, autoimmunity, and other degenerative conditions.

    Has there been any conclusive link between cancer and inflammation that may result from life-long long-distance running? Obviously, one of the first signs of cancer would be elevated serum Ferritin levels. I believe CRP and Westgar* sedimentation rate may detect that as well. But has there been any strongly suggestive link between cancer and the stress of lifelong distance running, as you do with running and CVD?

    We seem to have circumstancial evidence of such links in former runners who continued to run long distances after their careers: e.g., Alberto Salazar and Jimmy Fixx. What about cancer?

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    Tough to say - correlation does not imply causation. The traditional advice for distance runners was to carbo-load which may explain alot of the correlation.

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    Al_Kavadlo is offline Senior Member
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    I agree with rayout - causation is very difficult to determine.

    For every example like Grete Waitz, there are plenty of lifelong runners who've run lots of marathons and still live well into their 70s and beyond - like these guys.
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

    My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com


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    Hi All, I just finished more than a year of researching inflammation (among other issues) and the info is clear that MANY cancers are inflammatory in nature. By implication (when the research gets done) I suspect they'll find that all kinds are. Be that as it may, higher blood sugar (inflammatory) equals higher cancer, and glucose also feeds cancer so to me, it's pretty clear that the non-paleo diet that spikes blood sugar and insulin all day every day (inflammatory) bears more than a correlation. Cancers that result from toxic exposure (which is inflammatory) fall here too. OK, maybe cause is a bit strong, but not so strong that I don't work every day to reduce inflammation and teach others how to do. Just did a blog about this on Arp 11 at Minding The Middle Aged Middle...and More Ellie who thinks the glucose is the inflammatory cause of cancer, not necessarily the running.

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    choppedliver's Avatar
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    I agree with this but doesn't inflammation also promote CVD? I thought it was elevated cortisol that promoted low-grade inflammation for endurance athletes.

    Now, with regard to cancer, I've seen insulin being implicated in this by promoting cell division. If insulin is the culprit, then I guess the problem is really carb-heavy diets in general, not just sugar, since there are some "safe starches" that have virtually no or very little sugar (and fructose): white rice, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, yuca, etc.

    It's just whatever that results in insulin release, right? If that's the case, then as far as cancer is concerned, all carb-heavy foods that will shoot up blood sugar could promote cancer development. So, naturally, a ketogenic diet will be beneficial. What do you think?
    Last edited by choppedliver; 04-25-2011 at 12:32 PM.

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    Yes, it's good to know there are some healthy endurance athletes. But howcome in every major endurance event like marathon or triathlon, there always seems to be a competitor that drops dead from a coronary? By contrast, there doesn't seem to be any from the stands or the crowd that's standing suffering one. This may sound glib but it would seem that those watching the event are actually healthier (in terms of heart health) than those running in the event. This when there is more people watching the event unfold than those actually running.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_Kavadlo View Post
    I agree with rayout - causation is very difficult to determine.

    For every example like Grete Waitz, there are plenty of lifelong runners who've run lots of marathons and still live well into their 70s and beyond - like these guys.

  7. #7
    Al_Kavadlo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by choppedliver View Post
    Yes, it's good to know there are some healthy endurance athletes. But howcome in every major endurance event like marathon or triathlon, there always seems to be a competitor that drops dead from a coronary? By contrast, there doesn't seem to be any from the stands or the crowd that's standing suffering one. This may sound glib but it would seem that those watching the event are actually healthier (in terms of heart health) than those running in the event. This when there is more people watching the event unfold than those actually running.
    There are exceptional cases where people have had preexisting (yet unknown) heart conditions which suddenly became fatal during races, but you have to remember than millions of people run marathons every year so a death here and there only makes up a tiny fraction of a percentage of the running community. Usually if someone gets hurt (or worse) during a race it is because they didn't train properly or they bit off more than they could handle.

    People die and get hurt is almost all sports, including weightlifting, btw. Remember this poor fellow?

    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

    "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

    My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com


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