Friday Frontline: ‘Aquaman’ Star Jason Momoa Gifts Trident to Child With Cancer, Habitual Chili Pepper Consumption Associated With Lower Cancer Mortality Rates, And More

December 11, 2020
Conor Killmurray

From actor Jason Momoa gifting a trident to a young fan of the superhero movie “Aquaman” who is receiving treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, to data demonstrating the regular consumption of chili peppers is associated with lower cancer mortality rates, here’s everything happening in the cancer landscape this week.

‘Madea’s Big Happy Family’ Actress Natalie Desselle Reid has died from colon cancer.

Diagnosed earlier this year, Reid recently died from colon cancer in hospice care surrounded by her loved ones, according to a family member. Reid kept her diagnosis private. The actress was well known for her comedic roles in the sitcom “Eve”, “Madea’s big Happy Family”, “For Your Love”, the made for TV “Cinderella” with perhaps her most famous role in the 1997 comedy “B*A*P*S” starring alongside Halle Berry.

"It is with extremely heavy hearts that we share the loss of our beautiful Natalie this morning. She was a bright light in this world. A queen. An extraordinary mother and wife,” her family said in a statement.

‘Aquaman’ actor Jason Momoa gifts child receiving treatment for rare brain cancer a trident, action figurine of the DC Comics character.

Last month, Momoa participated in a FaceTime called with 7-year-old Danny Sheehan after he saw a video of the child opening a toy from “Aquaman”, the movie Momoa has starred in.

Sheehan was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer, in 2017.

In addition to FaceTiming Sheehan, Momoa surprised the child with memorabilia from the Warner Brothers hit, including a figurine of Aquaman and a large trident.

“My reaction was one of sheer delight, surprise and gratitude. Danny had a rough week this week, so it was great to see him so lively and excited,” said Natalie Sheehan, in an interview.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation. Wolf is a prostate cancer survivor who was given a clean bill of health in 2017.

Wolf, 72, was diagnosed with a treatable form of prostate cancer in 2016 but was able to have surgery shortly after diagnosis. He recently contracted COVID-19 along with several other staff members but continues to work remotely as he says his symptoms are mild. When discussing his risk factors such as his age and past with cancer, experts believe it should not play a big role.

"The person resumes their usual life and really doesn't have big consequences from cancer treatments as far as their overall health is concerned," said Dr. Alexander Kutikov, the Chief of Urologic Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, in an interview when discussing Wolf’s treatable cancer. "As far as prostate cancer, it's unlikely that localized prostate cancer that has been treated is a big risk factor here.”

A collection of studies from the American Heart Association (AHA) demonstrated that the regular consumption of chili peppers was associated with a 23% reduction in death from any cause — including cancer.

In a statement, the AHA said that regular chili pepper consumption was associated with 23% fewer cancer deaths than people who never or rarely ate the pepper. The research analyzed over 4,000 studies and examined around 570,000 participants, finding associations with lower cancer mortality and better health outcomes. Chili peppers are known to be an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food, slowing damage to cells, but even doctors involved in the study were surprised by the results.

“(We were) surprised to find that in these previously published studies, regular consumption of chili pepper was associated with an overall risk-reduction of all cause, CVD [cardiovascular disease] and cancer mortality,” senior author Dr. Bo Xu of the Cleveland Clinic said. According to Xu the mechanisms for why this is remain unknown and warrant further study.

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