Our latest guest post is courtesy of Dr. Margaret Cuomo, the author of “A World Without Cancer,” a board-certified radiologist and an attending physician in diagnostic radiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. for many years. Specializing in body imaging, involving CT, Ultrasound, MRI and interventional procedures, much of her practice was dedicated to the diagnosis of cancer and AIDS. She is the daughter of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Mrs. Matilda Cuomo and sister to Governor Andrew Cuomo and ABC’s Chris Cuomo. She resides in New York.
Here are her biggest tips for cancer prevention:
1. Attention to diet – Your “daily plate” should contain two-thirds whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and one-third lean protein, including poultry and fish. Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower contain cancer-fighting compounds. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens also have anticarcinogenic activity. Cooked or processed tomatoes, including tomato juice and tomato sauce, contribute lycopene to your diet, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Berries such as strawberries and raspberries contain the cancer-fighting ellagic acid and blueberries are powerful antioxidants. Add the spice tumeric to your meals – which is being studied for its cancer-fighting properties.
Red meat should be eaten sparingly and processed meats should be eliminated from your diet. Avoid added sugar in beverages and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Buy organic products whenever possible. It’s a good investment in your good health.
2. Limit alcohol consumption – Alcohol has been linked to cancer risk. No more than one drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men.
3. Stop smoking – which causes cancer for the smoker, and the person exposed to second-hand smoke.
4. Vitamin D – Have your doctor check your blood level of vitamin D. 40-60 ng/ml is the level recommended by over 40 vitamin D experts for cancer prevention. If your blood level is below this range, a vitamin D supplement is recommended. Vitamin D can also be found in salmon, sardines, vitamin D-fortified milk and orange juice.
5. Exercise daily – Exercise is good for your mind and body. Overweight and obesity are known risk factors for cancer, as well as heart disease and diabetes. Keep physcially fit, and maintain a healthy weight.
Include physical activity in your daily life – climb stairs instead of taking the elevator, or walk a few blocks rather than taking a subway or driving. Be a good role model for children – take frequent breaks from your computer – pace while on the phone – do jumping jacks – all of this can be done in your home or office.
6. Read labels on your consumer products and food packaging. If plastic bottles containing water or other beverages, or food containers, contain the number 3, 6, or 7 within a small triangle imprinted on the bottle or package, it contains BPA – a weak estrogen classified as an “endocrine disruptor,” that has been linked to breast , prostate, and ovarian cancers.
7. Read the labels on your cosmetics, body washes, shampoos, toothpaste, and other personal care products , and do not purchase any that contain harmful chemicals such as parabens, pthalates, and triclosans. Good news: In August, 2012, Johnson and Johnson becamse the first consumer product company to commit to removing a variety of chemicals, including the known carcinogen, formaldehyde, from its consumer products (including its subsidiaries Neutrogena, Clean and Clear and Aveeno) by 2015. Hopefully, other major consumer product and cosmetic companies will step forward to follow this important initiative to protect the public’s health.