Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Best Medical Book Of The Year" Confirms World Ready For Preventing Cancer

With medically grounded prevention advice for even the most health conscious consumers, Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time by Lynne Eldridge, M.D. and David Borgeson was a double winner at the 2008 National INDIE EXCELLENCE Book Awards. In winning both the Best Medical Book Of The Year and the Grand Prize Editors Choice Awards, it’s clear the world is ready to prevent cancer, not just treat it.

“The INDIE EXCELLENCE Awards review thousands of new books from independent publishers across the USA,” INDIE EXCELLENCE President Ellen Reid says. Awards are granted in over 80 fiction and nonfiction categories created to champion independent book publishers and the phenomenal products they produce. Entries are judged by independent reviewers, all of whom are avid readers with a wide range of experiences and considered experts in their respective fields.

About Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time

Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time is an authoritative, good-humored and remarkably practical book on how people can alter their lifestyles and add years to their lives. It describes do-able prevention and sets a needed example for American health care, where research and resources disproportionately address diagnosis and treatment to the neglect of keeping people healthy in the first place. This is an easy read, loaded with practical information - from everyday environmental hazards, to avoidance of carcinogenic lifestyle choices, to a deep and useful discussion of preventive nutrition. And there is a terrific recipe collection which could be expanded into a book of its own.

Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time (ISBN 1592981593, Beavers Pond Press) may be purchased over the Internet at AvoidCancerNow, at or at local independent book stores.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May Is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month - Tips To Avoid It!

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month!

According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be over a million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in 2008. Thankfully despite this high number less than 1000 deaths are expected, but treatment and worry are considerable nonetheless. Melanoma, responsible for roughly 75% of skin cancer deaths has been steadily increasing from an incidence of 1 in 1500 in 1935, up to 1 in 84 Americans now.Given these numbers despite the widespread use of sunscreen, what can we do to lower our risk?

1. Choose your sunscreen wisely

According to the Environmental Working Group, only 25% of sunscreens are considered both safe and effective. Read The Shady Side of Sunscreen.

2. Cover-up

Looking at the statistics above it is clear that factors in addition to sunscreen should be considered in skin cancer prevention. What did people do differently in 1935 when the incidence of melanoma was so much lower and sunscreen was not available? They covered up! Loose fitting tightly woven clothing, hats, umbrellas, and avoiding the sun during midday can offer protection.

3. Eat your sunscreen

Several foods and dietary practices are linked to a lower risk of skin cancer. Read Eat Your Sunscreen - 10 Superfoods to Lower Skin Cancer Risk.

4. Exercise

Exercise, at least in mice, appears to lower the risk of skin cancer. Read A Run and Java to Prevent Skin Cancer.

5. Remember the benefits of the sun

In addition to warding off the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, vitamin D produced in our bodies from sun exposure plays an important role in cancer prevention overall. Read Let the Sunshine In - But How Much?

For further information on cancer prevention, visit Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time.

Copyright 2008 Turtle Lake Publications

The Shady Side of Sunscreen

Most health care professionals advice the use of sunscreen for everyone - but unlike people, sunscreens are not all created equal. The Environmental Working Group investigated 1,015 brand name sunscreen products. Of these they found that only 25% were both safe and effective. The issues:

Protection against both UVB and UVA rays:

The FDA does not require that sunscreens offer UVA protection at this time. Unlike UVB rays, which are best known for causing sunburns, UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin. A lack of studies showing a decrease in the risk of melanoma with sunscreen use, may be in part due to traditional sunscreens lacking UVA protection. Both UVB and UVA rays can cause skin damage and skin cancer. Several products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays are now available.

Ingredients that pose significant safety concerns:

In addition to ingredients that may be irritating or cause allergic reactions, some chemicals in common sunscreen products raise greater concern. Some of these can be absorbed through the skin and mimic estrogen in the body. Some can actually have a skin-damaging effect by forming free radicals when exposed to sunlight.

As we are bombarded by advertising that touts everything from "healthy fast food" to miracle pills that can ease every malady known to man, how does your sunscreen measure up? The Environmental Working Group's "Skin Deep" cosmetic safety base lists 20 sunscreen products that are considered both low hazard and effective here.

The FDA plans on Upgrading Sunscreen Labeling to include information on UVA protection.

For further information on cancer prevention, visit Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time.
Copyright 2008 Turtle Lake Publications

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Let The Sunshine In - But How Much?

Mom always told us we needed to spend time in the sun, but watching sunscreen commercials makes us wonder if we should venture beyond the front door unless the moon is shining. Do we really need sunshine? And if so, do we dare step outside for 10 minutes without sunscreen?

According to the National Cancer Institute, up to 50% of those living in the US are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with several cancers as well as conditions such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Over the past year, studies have been published demonstrating a significant reduction in the incidence of breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer in those receiving the equivalent of 1000 IU's of vitamin D daily. For those who have been diagnosed with cancer, increased survival geographically going from north to south has been correlated with sun exposure, and hence vitamin D.

So how do we get vitamin D? Historically, sun exposure has been the main source of vitamin D. While our approach has traditionally been to recommend dietary sources of vitamins alone, this is difficult with vitamin D. Even with vitamin D fortified foods, to get 1000 IU's per day would require drinking 10 glasses of milk! The Canadian Cancer Society has advised that individuals should consider taking a supplement of 1000 IU's of vitamin D daily during the fall and winter months. In the US, the American Society states that some people may require supplements, and this should be discussed with your health care provider.

What do the authors do? Spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen (sunscreen with an SPF > 8 blocks formation of vitamin D) in average summer attire, can result in the absorption of a whopping 5000 IU's. Of course, this is not recommended for everyone, sun protection (hats, sunscreen) should be used after this time, and you should never burn.

But what if it is cloudy? Many things affect how much vitamin D is produced in our bodies by sunlight, including latitude, complexion, season, and time of day. Clouds reduce absorption by 50% and shade by 60%. People with fair complexions require much less sun exposure to absorb vitamin D than those with darker complexions. At latitudes above 40N (northern California), very little vitamin D is produced during the winter months, and hence the Canadian Cancer Society's recommendation for a supplement.

Have a Sunny Day!

For information on cancer prevention, visit Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time.
Copyright 2008 Turtle Lake Publications

Monday, April 28, 2008

Eat Your Sunscreen! - 10 Superfoods to Lower Skin Cancer Risk

Amidst the spring shower of sunscreen advertisements, we forget there are many ways to lower our risk of developing skin cancer. What we eat can have an impact on whether we will ever have to hear those words, "you have skin cancer!"

It has been shown that those who consume more fruits and vegetables have only half the incidence of skin cancer, whereas those who consume meals high in meat and fat have twice the risk. A few "superfoods" have been shown to pack an extra punch, and make a great addition to a picnic on the beach.

Superfoods for Skin Cancer Prevention:

1. Artichokes - Artichokes are high in silymarin, an antioxidant that has been shown to slow the growth of melanoma cells in mice.

2. Green tea - Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a component of green tea, has been shown to protect the skin of rodents from UV damage. A great treat chilled on the beach!

3. Fish - Omega-3-fatty acids in fish appear to offer protection against non-melanoma skin cancer.

4. Grapes - Proanthocyanidins, present in grapes seeds, have been shown to prevent photocarcinogenesis (cancer caused by sun exposure.)

5. Broccoli sprouts - Sulforaphane, which is high in broccoli and especially broccoli sprouts, was shown to substantially inhibit UV induced skin cancer in mice.

6. Berries - Berries are high in ellagic acid, which appears to have anti-tumor properties in rat skin.

7. Pomegranate juice - An juice extract of pomegranates was shown to protect against UV damage on a molecular level.

8. Carrots - Foods high in beta-carotene appear to have a protective role against skin cancer.

9. Spinach - Spinach is high in lutein/zeaxanthin, which has been shown to reduce UV induced skin cancer in mice when consumed dietarily.

10. Pineapple - Pineapple contains bromelain, a compound shown to decrease cancer in animals.

Practicing common sense, such as using hats and avoiding midday sun exposure are paramount. After all, melanoma, responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths, had an incidence of only 1 in 1500 people in 1935 when common sense was not exchanged for the blissful feeling that a chemical could protect us from all harm. This incidence of melanoma is now 1 in 84.For further information on cancer prevention, visit Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Run And Java To Prevent Skin Cancer

A quick click of the remote in spring, and it isn't long before we hear how we must prevent skin cancer. Prevention, we are told, comes in a multitude of colorful bottles with assorted numbers and can even be applied in colors that dissolve, to make certain every patch of skin is concealed. Could it possibly be that there are "natural" things we can do to lower our risk, in addition to the ubiquitous sunscreen?

Step 1: Take a walk and sip a cup of java!

Researchers demonstrated in the past that mice who spent more time on the treadmill, had a lower risk of skin cancer. Last summer, another dimension was added. Mice that ran on a treadmill plus drank the equivalent of 1 to 2 cups of coffee, had a 400% increase in apoptosis of skin cells that had been damaged by UVB rays. "Apoptosis" means cell suicide, the process by which abnormal cells die rather than progress on to become cancer cells.

Step 2: Tomorrow we will talk about "eating your sunscreen," foods that may protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

For further information on cancer prevention, visit Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don't Stress Out - Reduce Your Risk of Cancer!

We all know that "stressed out" feeling. Too much to do. Too little time.

And, we know intuitively that stress is not healthy.

But we also know that some people seem to endure endless stressful events in their lives and come out healthy. Others, faced with fewer of these events, but feeling overwhelmed nonetheless, do not fare as well.

The research seems to support our intuition, and the observation that the actual stressful events in our lives are less to blame than our perception of and reaction to them. Credible studies have found an increased risk of developing both breast and cervical cancers in those experiencing more stress. The actual stressful events in these studies did not play a role, rather it was the subjective sensation of stress that was correlated with a risk of cancer. So what can we do to lower our "feelings" of stress?
  • Play music that relaxes you. (During cold Minnesota stressful winter days, I like to turn up the heat, put on "summer clothes" and dance to Hawaiian music while folding clothes)

  • Take five minutes alone in a quiet place and slow your breathing

  • Try visualization. Picture yourself in your favorite place on the planet and "go" there for a few moments

  • Turn off the news

  • Learn to delegate

  • Try yoga

  • Set limits. Learn how to say no.

  • My favorite. Make a list of 10 things that are wonderful in your life - such as having toilet paper and clean water, and express gratitude!

We can't change many of the circumstances in our lives, but we do have control of how they make us feel!

For information on cancer prevention, visit Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ethnic Foods To Fight Breast Cancer

It is well known that people in different regions of the world have rates of breast cancer that vary considerably. Is this simply because the genetic makeup of certain populations differ? Japanese women have a low rate of breast cancer. If they move to Hawaii, their risk increases, and risk increases further yet if they move to the mainland United States. Clearly genetics alone cannot explain this. So - what does? Studies are increasingly pointing at the role of diet as one explanation.

A recent study looked at the Mexican diet, since Hispanic women have a lower incidence of breast cancer than white non-Hispanic women. It was found that those who consumed a native Mexican diet(right), or a Mediterranean diet(below), had a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who chose to partake of the traditional western diet.

Last year, a study looked at women who consumed a typical "soy-vegetable" Chinese diet, versus the western diet. Those women who switched over to a western diet had a 60% increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Sadly, countries such as China in the above study, that are adopting our "meat-sweet" western diet, are also beginning to experience our high breast cancer incidence as well.

Action point: Lowering the risk of breast cancer can be fun with this knowledge. Go to your library, bookstore, or online, to find ethnic recipes that look enticing.

For further information on cancer prevention, visit

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lower Cancer Risk With a "Green" Lawn

Spring has arrived! For those in the north, the sound of lawn mowers and sprinklers strum heavenly chords in our souls after a long winter. We think of health and vitality as we watch our children roll in the grass, and exchange boots for bare feet. Is it possible that such a tranquil vision could be concealing a very real danger?

Sadly, it has been demonstrated in credible studies that children exposed to home and garden pesticides have a significantly elevated risk of developing leukemia and lymphomas. Have you seen those signs posted by commercial lawn companies to keep dogs off the lawn for a period of time? Dogs that live in households that use herbicides containing 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (a chemical found in most common weed killers), are twice as likely to die from cancer. In that study, dogs were looked at because it is felt they have more contact with the lawn than humans. As a mother of boys I stand to disagree! Is this really a concern? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans apply 90 million pounds of herbicides and pesticides on their lawns every year.

OK. You understand the risk. You decide to skip the weed killer and let nature rule. But how do you keep up with - or have a lawn that is somewhat presentable living next to - the Jones's that make their lawn a priority? A few tips:

Mow high and often

Add grass seed to thicken the grass and choke out weeds

Consider mulching

If you choose to fertilize, choose "organic" fertilizers from a reputable nursery. Many nurseries now carry alternatives to chemical weed killers as well

If weeds are a concern, trying pulling them, killing them with hot water, replacing lawn with rocks or other forms of landscaping, or simply tolerating them.

Remember, "Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them." -Eeyore, from A.A.Milne's "Winnie the Pooh"

For further information on cancer prevention, visit

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Safe Summer Grilling - Cancer Prevention Tips

What would a summer picnic be without the grill going? Yet, studies show us that eating grilled foods may raise our risk of developing cancer. As we spring into the summer months of picnics, parties, and that wonderful aroma and taste of grilled food, what can we do to celebrate the taste of the season, without raising our risk of cancer?

Tips for Cancer Prevention:

1. Use Natural Charcoal. Conventional charcoal may contain additives/toxins, including those labeled as carcinogens.

2. Use a fire chimney instead of lighter fluid. Lighter fluid contains petroleum distillates, known carcinogens.

3. Choose rare over well-done with beef (with the exception of hamburger that should always be well-done). Those who choose their cuts of beef rare or medium rare appear to have a lower risk of stomach cancer than those who prefer them well-done.

4. Marinate meats for an hour before cooking. Marinating meats greatly reduces the formation of heterocyclic amines, cancer causing substances produced in grilling meats.

5. Grill vegetables. Grilling vegetables does not result in the formation of the cancer causing substances that can occur with grilling meat, and has the added benefit of adding to the list of "5 to 9."

Eating 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day lowers the likelihood that you will have to hear that dreaded phrase, "You Have Cancer." For further information on cancer prevention, visit the web site for Avoid Cancer One Day At A Time.