Health Check: Cancer prevention - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Health Check: Cancer prevention

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When it comes to cancer survival, experts say prevention trumps treatment.

Many Americans don't realize that their lifestyle choices have a big impact on their risk of getting cancer.

Leaders in medicine and science strongly express a need for a new emphasis on cancer prevention.

"Two hundred thirty-two million dollars for prevention and $3.3 billion for treatment on the mechanisms of cancer. We need to have more balance, and we need to focus more on prevention," said Margaret Cuomo, an oncologist and radiologist.

Time magazine recently ran a cover story on cancer. In the 4,031-word article, the word prevention was mentioned only once.

The prevention issue is not necessarily on the front burner of journalistic concern, but it is for Otis Brawley, the head of the American Cancer Society.

"I believe that we aren't doing a very good job in terms of cancer as far as prevention is concerned. I see a large problem with the obesity epidemic. The combination of high caloric diet, lack of physical activity and obesity is related to about a dozen different cancers," Brawley said.

Others agree that eating habits are vital.

Scientist Ralph Moss has been fighting in the cancer war for more than four decades.

"The more we learn about the metabolic dimension of cancer, that's to say the way that cancer uses sugar as its energy, the more we realize you can actually impact the course of the cancer by what you eat," Moss said.

What should you eat?

"There are many nutrients and targeted therapies, for instance, that can restore the ability of cancer cells to die normally -- garlic, turmeric, which gives curry its yellow color, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage," said Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, an integrative oncologist.

Gaynor is considered an innovator, incorporating diet, music and sound wave treatments in addition to the standards, like chemotherapy and radiation.

One of his patients who endured lung cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer said she believes in his methods.

"It's very relaxing and besides that, we also talk about meditation. He gives all his patients numerous supplements to take," said Kate King Jones.

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