I lost my Mom eight years ago to cancer. She battled the disease for almost a decade, starting in November of 1996 when she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. In April of ’97, the cancer went into remission, but to later come back as sarcoma in December of ’99, in which it was an isolated case and she decided to have a hysterectomy. Finally in August 2003, she was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma, which was terminal and she died in February of 2004.
I have always been one to care immensely about my diet, but since my Mom’s passing, I have become even more obsessed. Actually, not just because of her passing, but also for the fact that I have two ovarian cysts and as of September 2011, when I went for my first mammogram, and discovered that I have a cyst in my right breast. I don’t eat a lot of red meat, I try and avoid sugar at all costs using sometimes certified organic sugar, but mostly stevia, at home I only eat hormone-free chicken or fish, and I try and eat a ton of fruits and vegetables. There are things that I still need to change, such as not buying any bottled water and get a filter system for home, but everything in due time.
So, I was quite intrigued when I came across an article in the current issue of Instyle magazine about Dr. Cuomo’s new book, “A World Without Cancer: The Making of a New Cure and the Real Promise of Prevention.” Some of the things she mentions in her book are:
- Reduce contaminants at home: such as eating organic, using filtered water, minimizing dry cleaning, and always check ingredients in the grooming products we use for parabens. Now I realize in the last few weeks, there has been a change of attitude towards eating organic, as some studies are saying that there is not a big difference between contaminants in conventional food versus organic food. However, if the point is about reducing contaminants, you are still consuming less chemicals in organic produce than conventional. If cost is an issue, then make sure you clean your conventional produce with either a fruit and vegetable wash like Fit or make your own.
- Avoid BPA: What is BPA you ask? It stands for bisphenol A and is found in many plastic bottles and containers, as well as in canned products. Within the last few years, it has been linked to a number of health issues, such as infertility, birth defects and miscarriage to name a few. Always look for BPA-free containers and packaging, and make sure you look for No. 1, 2, and 4 on plastic bottles and containers, and never No. 7. When storing food, always use glass or stainless steel containers. I happen to like the glass containers, because then I can see what food I stored. Finally, never, ever, microwave food in plastic containers, and truthfully you ought to avoid using the microwave at all. I haven’t used one in over five years and don’t miss it.
- Start making informed decisions about radiation: I don’t think any of us have thought twice about all the tests and x-rays we do over the course of our life, but it’s definitely something to consider. Dr. Cuomo suggests to start keeping a record of all the scans and x-rays we take and always ask your Doctor if an imaging test is necessary or whether or not a test uses radiation.
- Cut down on your cell phone use: In the last couple of years, there has been some studies linking the radiation coming off of our cell phones and cancer, or particularly brain tumors.
- Become an advocate: Dr. Cuomo believes that it’s time for people to speak out about the link between cancer and environmental contaminants. Research is making it more clear each year that many of the things we consume, clean with, groom with are making us sick and we all ought to create a greater sense of awareness about this.
- Rethink red meat: I started thinking twice about red meat many years ago. Don’t get me wrong, every now and again I enjoy a good burger or a delicious steak, but it’s not part of my weekly diet. As Dr. Cuomo mentions in her book, currently there is a link between beef, goat, lamb, pork and cancer. And she says to stay away from processed meat like hot dogs and cold cuts.
- Limit alcohol consumption: More and more studies and information recently is pointing to a direct link between alcohol and cancer. What makes this worrisome is that these studies are showing that only 2 or more drinks a day can possibly lead to different types of cancer, such as ovarian and breast. It seems the risk is higher in post-menopausal women, but it should be something we take into consideration.
I am going to grab a copy of her book on the Kindle for iPad and dive into it as soon as possible and I encourage all of you to do the same. I will update this post upon reading the book to share all of Dr. Cuomo’s insights. Let’s hope this is the beginning of changing our mindset from treatment to prevention, because clearly treatment is not enough.
Images and sources courtesy of Richard Marchisotto, Wikipedia, and Instyle.