Empowering Yourself to Stay Cancer Free

As a physician, I often see patients interested in cancer screening and prevention. Sometimes they ask me questions like: does estrogen cause cancer, should I stop drinking diet soda, or what supplements should I take? Just to name a few.


What they don't often ask me is: "What can I do myself to prevent getting cancer? What lifestyle changes can I make?"


In November 2007, the American Institute for Cancer Research announced the results of a panel, which analyzed data from over 7000 studies to come up with 10 basic recommendations for cancer prevention. Their recommendations...

  1. Be as lean as possible, within your normal range of body weight.
  2. Be physically active as part of everyday life.
  3. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods (ie. Deserts). Avoid sugary drinks.
  4. Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
  5. Limit red meat and processed meat.
  6. Limit alcoholic beverages. (1 a day for women, 2 for men.)
  7. Limit salt intake. Avoid moldy cereals or moldy legumes - to limit exposure to aflatoxins.
  8. Meet nutritional needs through diet rather than supplements.
  9. Mothers should breast-feed and children should be breast-fed.
  10. Cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

As you can see most of these recommendations are basic concepts that we have all heard before, but if all 10 of these recommendations were adopted cancer rates would be reduced by one-third. If we include "not smoking" cancer rates would decrease by more than 50%.


In an age where people are searching for the magic cure and the fountain of youth, the simplicity of these results is staggering.


Obesity is now second only to smoking as a cause of cancer, and if these trends continue, obesity will soon become the number one cause of cancer.

This is a challenge to us all - to begin with these simple diet changes and find an exercise routine that we can incorporate into our daily lives. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is your best medicine.