Twenty years ago today, the Ides of March, I stood alone by my Dad’s side in a hospital room, holding his hand as cancer took his life. Jacques A. Ferry, age 59, died of Multiple Myeloma, a not-so-common cancer of the blood which will kill over 10,000 Americans this year. Despite the big number, it’s “not-so-common” because more than 550,000 Americans will die of cancer this year.
People occasionally ask me why I am so passionate about cancer causes. It started with Dad. But fourteen years later, a very close friend, British cycling champion Alaric Gayfer, lost his life to a brain tumor. And two years ago, my then-girlfriend’s Mom lost her brave battle against non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. And my heart aches over the realization that there will be more.
Here are 20 easy ways you can help battle this menace.
- Quit smoking, or help someone else quit… it’s never too late.
- Just say no to second hand smoke, it contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals.
- Check yourself monthly; self-screening for skin cancer, testicular cancer and breast cancer is quick, easy and just may save your life.
- Vote for candidates who support funding of embryonic stem-cell research.
- Toss out your scratched teflon pans; a connection to cancer may be unproven, but why risk it?
- Enjoy the sun responsibly; apply sun screen after 10 minutes to allow your body to soak in some vitamin D.
- Run, walk or volunteer at a cancer-charity running event; you’re preventing cancer and helping the fight at once.
- Exercise at least 3x/week; it flushes out your colon and rids your body of cancer-causing carcinogens.
- Consume whey protein after exercise; it speeds muscle recovery while stimulating production of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
- Obesity causes cancer, so maintain a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 19-24. Calculate BMI here http://bmitool.com/
- Aim for a high fiber, low fat diet: more whole grains, fruits & veggies, less sugar, salt and fat.
- Start your day with a cup of coffee and some blueberries; both are linked to cancer prevention.
- Boost your immune system with foods rich in vitamin C: sweet peppers, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, guava and canteloupe.
- Favor whole grain breads, rice, pasta and cereals over their white, processed counterparts.
- Load up on dark, leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, kale and romaine lettuce.
- Go with the red sauce; tomatoes help reduce cervical, ovarian and prostate cancer.
- Garlic breath is healthy breath; eat it often, its ties to cancer prevention are strong and unchallenged.
- Reduce your intake of fatty foods such as meat (except fish) and dairy products like milk, eggs & cheese.
- Drink alcohol in moderation; it is linked to mouth, throat, liver and breast cancer.
- Donate $20 to a cancer charity… support Livestrong right now by donating online.