Is second-hand smoke really that dangerous?

Absolutely, says Linda Thomas, manager of the University of Michigan Health System’s Tobacco Consultation Service. Thousands of toxic chemicals are in the smoke that smokers exhale-and it lingers in the air that the rest of us breathe.

To hear more about what you can do to avoid the health effects of second-hand smoke and how you can encourage loved ones to quit, view the videocast above of our conversation with Thomas. Or, if you’d like information about our free smoking cessation program, call 734-998-6222.


WHO report links cell phones to cancer: Should you worry?

A branch of the World Health Organization, announced yesterday that it had added cell phones to a list of potential cancer-causing agents. The group, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, did not conduct any new research, but instead surveyed studies that had already examined the issue. So should you worry?

We talked with Larry Junck, M.D., a University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center neuro-oncologist. He said the worst danger posed by cell phones is driver distraction.

“There have been a number of scientific studies examining a possible relationship between cell phone use and brain tumors, and while none of them have been large enough to provide a final answer, it is reassuring that most of these studies have found no relationship,” Junck said.

Watch the video to learn more.

Have other questions? Would you like to discuss this? Post on our Discussion Board. Our Cancer AnswerLine nurses are available to address your concerns on mCancerTalk or at 1-800-865-1125.

Taming the flame for Memorial Day weekend

Each year University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center dietitians field questions from patients about whether it’s safe to grill, given the evidence that grilled meats may contain cancer-causing agents. But new guidelines from the American Institute for Cancer Research suggest that the type of food you grill may be more important than how you prepare it.

Hot dogs and hamburgers — the all-American summer standards — may be among the worst culprits in causing colorectal cancer. Research has shown a convincing link between diets high in processed meat and red meat — which includes beef, pork and lamb. Every 3.5 ounces of processed meat — about two hot dogs — increases the risk for colorectal cancer by 42 percent.

Given the data, we recommend that our patients follow AICR guidelines. Limit the amount of red meat you eat. Think of it as an occasional indulgence. Make processed meats including hot dogs a treat for a special occasion — like an annual outing at the ballpark. Use these guidelines year round to lower your risk.

And this summer, continue to use caution when grilling. All animal meats produce cancer-causing chemicals when they are seared at high temperatures-whether on a grill or on a conventional stove. It’s still unclear whether eating these chemicals will increase your cancer risk. But while researchers continue to learn more about whether there’s a link between grilling and cancer, you can protect yourself and still enjoy a backyard barbecue. Read on to learn strategies to limit your exposure. Continue reading