Colder temperatures help cancer grow, supposedly (Article)

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2012
Total Posts : 2084
   Posted 12/19/2016 10:04 AM (GMT -7)   
ISU-Cyclone's current thread about the cold of winter beginning to settle in upon so many of us reminded me of the article linked below which I had come across: "Chilly Temperatures Help Cancers Grow."

The article discusses an experimental study, apparently a serious one, which was published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (certainly a reputable research journal). The original contribution was entitled "Baseline Tumor Growth and Immune Control in Laboratory Mice Are Significantly Influenced by Subthermoneutral Housing Temperature."

In short, the article says that lab mice who were kept warmer had less trouble with their cancer tumors.

So not supermarket tabloid stuff, I guess, although the article's premise, that being or living in a cold environment may itself be enough to make one's cancer worse, is certainly controversial.

From the article:

"… mice living in a relatively cold environment (around 22°C) had cancers that grew more quickly and aggressively than mice living at a nice thermally comfortable temperature (around 30°C)"

"A cold environment boosted the growth of several different types of cancer."

"… cold temperatures, then, shifted the body’s response from fighting the tumor to accepting it."


"Could administering cancer therapies in a sauna like setting improve their tumor fighting potential and slow cancer growth?"

"… increasing body temperature to a mild fever over the course of a few hours improves response rates to radiation therapy."

And finally

"… the benefits of heat therapy for cancer may have been overlooked."

But of course it must be immediately noted that the conclusions of this study are based on what happened with laboratory mice under controlled circumstances, and it is well-known that the history of cancer research is littered with things like that which worked well in lab mice but never worked in humans.

But the quote in the article (at the end) from Hippocrates is intriguing:

"Those who cannot be cured by medicine can be cured by surgery. Those who cannot be cured by surgery can be cured by heat. Those who cannot be cured by heat are to be considered incurable."

But even it does prove true for humans, that living in a cold environment somehow makes cancer worse, what is the conclusion from that? That we all need to move to places like Florida, California., etc, to keep warmer? Not practical for most of us.

And I'm pretty sure that the statistics for people living here in Florida where I am don't indicate that we here have lower cancer rates based solely on the thermometer. Hence, controversial.

But wherever we are, keeping ourselves warmer, turning up the heat, wearing more things, especially when it's really, really cold outside, is possible.

So maybe it's worth pursuing, if it does in fact turn out to be just one more way of fighting cancer.

In any case, making oneself feel warmer when it's zero degrees outside would seem like a worthwhile endeavor.

(P.S. Googling the article's author, Elizabeth Repasky, pulls up additional, more recent, articles that seem to support her conclusions)
Age: 70
Chronic prostatitis (age 60 on)
BPH w/ urinary obstruction, 6/2011
TURP, 7/2011
Ongoing high PSA, 7/2011-12/2011
Biopsy, 12/2011: positive 3/12 (90%, 70%, 5%)
Gleason 6(3+3), T1c
No mets, PCa likely still organ contained
IMRT w/ HT (Lupron), 4/2012-6/2012
PSAs (since post-IMRT): 0.1 or lower

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 333
   Posted 12/20/2016 5:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I see several hypothesis and correlation in the data given, but causation is another kettle of fish entirely.

Taking up a healthy diet, exercise and rest routine and staying with it would be cheaper than moving to Algeria or Saudi Arabia...

But yeah, we should stay warm where we are. smile
66 yo, 2012 PSA=11, biopsy 11/12, 12/12 cores +. DVRP 12/27/12. 36 g gland 35% PCa,EC ext.,1 SV inv,+ marg T3cNXMX, G7(4+3). 2 week post-RP PSA=0.2, start Firmagon ADT. Cont @ 3 mo, EBRT prostate bed and interior pelvic lymph nodes ~ 80 Gy/40 ses. Last 6 mo. Eligard 10/14. 4/15 T=2.2, PSA<.02. 7/16T=184, PSA=.03. 10/16 T=204, PSA=.08

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2014
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 12/20/2016 7:19 AM (GMT -7)   
I used to do my running in just nylon shorts and a sweatshirt down to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Me and the mice have something in common.
PSA 5.3, RP 2009, Gl 3+4, neg margins, focal PNI, SRT 2012
PSA doubling time 13 mths high of 2.77
Nano-MRI 2014: 8 lymph node mets 4 to 9 mm, 6 para-aortic left, 2 common iliac right
Degarelix 4 mths 2-6/2015
FebMar 2015 IMRT 50 grays. PSA latest 3.26, doubling time about 3 mths

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2013
Total Posts : 2037
   Posted 12/20/2016 8:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Want to see some interesting correlations...look at a plot of US states with Prostate Cancer incidence vs. states with percent adult cigarette smokers. (source: CDC) High r, correlation coefficient.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 7184
   Posted 12/20/2016 8:39 AM (GMT -7)   
LOL! As if I needed another reason to HATE this Michigan cold weather (6 below the other night).

The fun thing about booking a snowbird excursion early is that we can look forward to it a LOT when it gets this cold.

PSA-- 11/09--4.19 .Biop.11/30/09.G 4+3.RP: 1/26/10. G 4+3. PNI,EPE, Margin, No SVI..100% cont. by 3/10. PSA: 3/10/10-0.01; 6/21/10--0.02. ,3/1/11--0.27. SRT May '11, PSA 7/11/11-0.60; 8/11/11-0.75; PSADT-3 mos.; PSA 17.55 3/13 so started Lupron/Casodex. PSA 0.57 0n 4/20/13; 0.07 on 5/30/13. 0.03 on 7/26/13.Undetectable since then. On HT vacation since Feb, '14. PSA 0.04 6/16/14
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