Epic Health

3 Ways to Reduce Cancer Risk

Cuomo-e1357141571783Here are some great prevention tips from Margaret I. Cuomo MD, author of A World without Cancer that I found posted on WebMD. Cuomo is a board certified radiologist who served as an attending physician in diagnostic radiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, 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, and wife of Howard S. Maier. She resides in New York.

I inserted a few comments in parentheses along the way like this:
(Man I never realized all those famous Cuomos were so closely related!)

What is the one most important step people can take to reduce cancer risk?

Maintain a healthy weight.

Obesity is a national epidemic, and is a risk factor for cancer, as well as heart disease and diabetes. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported higher death rates from at least 14 different kinds of cancer among overweight populations, and noted that the heaviest people were 50 percent more likely to die from cancer than people of normal weight.

(Want to drop weight fast? See the movie Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead)

What are some of the most troublesome chemicals we are exposed to that may cause cancer?

At least 80,000 chemicals are manufactured in the United States, and we are exposed to many of them on a daily basis. We know with alarming certainty that some of them cause cancer. In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer states flatly that 100 agents in use today are “carcinogenic to humans,” and several hundred others are “probably” or “possibly” carcinogenic to humans. Yet, most of them remain unexamined and unregulated.

There are three chemicals in our daily lives that are of particular concern:

Bisphenol A (BPA), Perchloroethylene and Parabens.

• BPA has been associated with breast and prostate cancer in mice, and an increased risk of miscarriage and polycystic ovary disease in humans. BPA is ubiquitous in consumer products, from plastic bottles containing water and other beverages, to canned food to cashier receipts. To reduce BPA exposure, avoid plastics with a 3 or 7 recycle code on the bottom, or look for products labeled “BPA-free”. In 2012, the FDA banned BPA from baby bottles and children’s drinking cups.

(Right, so BPA is basically in most drinks that come in plastic bottles and also in the lining of canned goods. If you want to drastically reduce your BPA exposure, stop drinking plastic bottle drinks: water, soda, juice, etc. and buy more fresh food instead of canned)

• Perchloroethylene, or “perc,”, a chemical used in dry-cleaning, has been called a “likely human carcinogen” by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. Workers in the dry cleaning industry have a higher incidence of several cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma and bladder cancer. The Natural Resources Defense Council advises that consumers seek out alternate methods of dry-cleaning.

(Yep, dry cleaning chemicals are super toxic. That’s one most people don’t think about.)

• Parabens are chemicals that mimic estrogens, and have been found within breast tumors. Parabens are found in moisturizers, hair care products, shaving products, processed meats, snacks, candy, and some liquid dietary supplements. The FDA has not banned parabens from consumer products, but says that it will consider new research as it becomes available. I recommend that you avoid ingredients with the word “paraben” in them, such as methylparaben.

(We stopped using body care products with parabens like 8 years ago. Chunk em!)

Can vitamins and supplements help prevent cancer?

Research on taking multivitamins for cancer prevention has shown some promise in recent studies, and taking a daily multivitamin makes good sense for both men and women.

In October, 2012, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that daily use of a common multivitamin reduced the risk for cancer in a long-term study of about 15,000 male doctors over 50. Those men taking the daily multivitamin had an 8% reduction in risk of developing cancer compared with those taking a placebo. The multivitamin use had no effect on the incidence of prostate cancer among the men studied, however.

(I like Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Multi-Vitamins)

The vitamin with the best evidence for cancer prevention is vitamin D.
Everyone, including children and adults, should have their vitamin D blood levels measured and then supplements should be discussed with their doctors. Many vitamin D experts internationally recommend a vitamin D blood level between 40 and 60 ng/ml, or 100 and 150 nmol/l, for cancer prevention. The daily dose of vitamin D supplementation will depend on each person’s blood level.

(I like taking Vitamin D3 Drops)

The most important way to get vitamins is through your diet. In A World without Cancer, I explain that most experts recommend a plant-based diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole-grains as the best way to reduce cancer risk.

It’s also important to follow other cancer-preventing measures including exercising, ending smoking, limiting alcohol, and protecting our skin from the sun.

Here’s her book:

More comments from Chris:

This is all excellent advice, which is why I shared it. Let me add a couple things…

Margaret is recommending losing weight, reducing your exposure to toxins and plant food for prevention, which I agree with, but they are also extremely beneficial for anyone who already has cancer. They are part of the radical diet and lifestyle change that will help your body heal.


Skip the whole grains when it comes to wheat and corn. Modern wheat is nothing like what our ancestors ate. It is cross-bred, hybridized and can cause more health problems than benefits. Wheat is making many people sick and fat. Read the book Wheat Belly by William Davis MD for more in depth info about this.

Also about 90% of non-organic corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified.
Read my post about corn here ‎.

“Protecting your skin from the sun” is actually bad advice if we’re talking about using conventional sunscreens. Most contain toxic chemical ingredients and may actually be causing skin cancer not preventing it. Tanning beds cause skin cancer too.
Megaphone voice: DO NOT USE A TANNING BED.

15-30 minutes of morning sunshine on your skin every day is extremely beneficial. Also contrary to popular belief, skin cancer rates are higher in areas that are further from the equator and get less sunshine. A Vitamin D3 supplement is extremely important to take in the winter months, if you live in the north, or if you work at night.

A daily diet rich in plant foods like fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts is definitely an anti-cancer diet. If you are eating animal products it is very important that they comes from local organic grass-fed free-range farms. Otherwise you are eating meat and dairy with steroids, growth hormones, antibiotics and unnaturally high levels of fat.
This is my standard: I only eat meat if I know where it comes from, with very few exceptions.

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I've interviewed over 50 people who've healed all types and stages of cancer. Check them out here. Or use the search bar to find survivors of specific cancer types.

I also created a coaching program for cancer patients, caregivers and anyone who is serious about prevention called SQUARE ONE. It contains the step-by-step strategies used by myself and everyone I know who has healed cancer.

Watch SQUARE ONE Module 1 for free here


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  • Amber

    I eat Ezekiel bread and tortillas all the time. Is this not a good idea?

    • Diane

      Amber, from what I’ve read, Ezekiel bread is flourless. Since the wheat berries are sprouted rather than dormant seeds that are crushed and made into flour, the seed or berry, when sprouted, becomes a live, green food. The starch is converted to energy to began the growth of the wheat plant. The sprouted berries (now a green)are crushed, dried and made into a bread. All together different than typical floured, yeast bread. I believe one of the main factors leading to my weight loss, clearer thinking, relief from gastro-intestinal issues was by switching to sprouted grain products. I rarely consume floured bread but consistently eat Ezekiel bread with excellent health results.

      I’m no expert, but after 10 years of great health (I’m 51), following by years of poor health, I attribute the switch from floured breads as being one of the factors.

      I’d like to hear a professional point of view on this! And i do hope I’m correct because one of my favorite things in life is toasted Ezekiel sesame bread slathered in organic butter!!

      • Cyndi

        Read the ingredients when buying Ezekial bread. Some companies add wheat gluten or other gluten containing grains back into the bread.

    • Sprouted organic wheat like Ezekiel bread is certainly the best form in moderation,
      it should not be a big part of your diet,
      also if you have any health problems that you cannot resolve,
      it would be wise to eliminate all wheat for 30-60 days and see what happens.

    • jackie

      i quit eating ezekiel bread because even though it’s made from sprouted grains, they add gluten to it, which is the inflammatory protein in wheat. IMO, i think gluten is very harmful to the gut and thus to one’s health.

      • Amber

        So, what do you eat instead? For bread, buns or tortillas?

        • barb

          If it’s already made we look for gmo free and organic. Not always possible so we buy flours (NO wheat/rye/barley/oats,ever) and make breads ourselves. A brand I like for pizza crust is chebe. Yum! Their rolls are good too. Udi’s and Rudi are great brands as well for tortillas as well. We must watch out for corn/soy here due to sensitivities. Andean Dream is a great pasta and there is one made with potato starch that I love called “Pastato” but it’s hard to find. Usually at healthy food stores.
          Also Lundberg Organic Pastas. Ancient Brand Quinoa (nice change from rice) and GoGo Quinoa Amaranth.
          Roland Kaniwa – very good tasting–lots of iron!
          Pocono Cream of Buckwheat as a hot cereal has 29 gms of protein per 1/4 cup!!
          1-2-3-Gluten Free has some great mixes for cakes, pan bars, etc.
          O’Doughs breads are good, too. Some tend to crumble quickly :( But there are MANY to choose from. Good luck and good health to you!

  • Elaine

    On the subject of parabens, what soap, shampoo and deodorant does your family use?

    • There are lots of good clean brands out there now, you just have to try them and see what you like:
      Dr. Bronners, JASON, Tom’s of Maine, Aubrey Organics, YES to Carrots, Burt’s Bees, etc.

      • Jacky

        I use Kirk’s Castile, pure coconut oil soap, wash my hair with a solution of 1/4 cup Borax to 1 gal of water, shake until dissolved, and I rinse with vinegar and water. I use coconut oil on my skin all over. My biological DDS told me today he shaves with Sesame oil, and puts it in his hair too. Experiment folks, use what is natural. And I use baking soda to brush my teeth, and got a good checkup today on gum health at 76.

    • barb

      I like Waleda’s spray Citrus deodorant. We use Alot of the Bronner’s Baby Soap and Meyer Baby Laundry soap. Shampoos are trying at times for we don’t want the overly sudsing type or tested on animals.
      DermOrganics Shampoo *sulfate free and no wheat, too.

  • Diane

    At 51 years of age, I have been extremely healthy for the past 10 years following several years of decaying health. Chronic headaches, bone/joint pain, muscle aches, constipation, poor skin and hair, low sex drive, depression, foggy thinking, lethargy, wight gain, etc…..

    I had no insurance so I saw no doctor. Besides, i did not want to hear that I had some incurable disease. So, I did some research. The research led me to needing a radical diet change.

    Next morning….I threw out all white stuff, sugar, flour, white rice. Any boxed foods with more than ONE ingredient!! i went to the local health food store and bought liquid chlorophyll, liquid trace minerals, whole foods, raw seeds, nuts, Ezekiel flourless bread, etc…..

    Within 3 days, my twice daily use of Ibuprofin STOPPED!! Headaches GONE! Joint pain noticeably diminished! Mood elevated! Energy much improved!

    My life began turning around…smiling more, interest in sex (YES!!) weight began dropping! You get the message.

    Within very little time, I felt like a new (young) woman. i have maintained this and due to due continued research, have learned so much. I maintain a size 4 with ease, practice yoga and LOVE ZUMBA!! My hair is long, shiny and lustrous, I rarely succumb to illness and when something is coming on…..I check my diet and make adjustments…illness diverted!

    It’s amazing, truly, eating whole foods, eating to live, not living to eat!! I am one very happy, healthy woman!! Still will not see a doc…only once when I took a fall while sprinting with my 58 year old husband (also a health nut and EXTREMELY healthy now) thought I broke a bone (not the case, whew!)

    Listen to this woman…feel great starting today and change your life forever!!

    Love, Peace and awesome health be yours!! Diane

    • Incredible testimony Diane, thanks for sharing!

      • barb

        Good going Diane!!

        Did something like that myself after reading a book (written by a felon *gasp! and went organic, gmo free, filtered water, rebounded, etc and came off the scripts for GERD/IBS, migraines, sinus infections, etc. All of them.

        I was 50 at the time. Then I found Iodine replacement and detoxed many bad things while shrinking a goiter – YAY!

        (Had a wide resection of right arm for superficial melanoma, in 88 but even THAT didn’t get me started on health choices!)

    • Jill

      Hi Diane, would love to have a conversation with you about the changes you made. If your willing, please email me at jillmck1@yahoo.com. Thanks!

    • Kathy Gurley

      That is incredible. I too would like to learn more of what you did to change your lifestyle. It’s tough to throw out the flour! Love bread. But it sounds worth it. Email me if you can to tell me more. Thanks. Kathy

  • Frank

    Thank you, Chris,
    Your personal comments after the article offered points too overlooked even by many holistic physicians, like Dr. Cuomo. The value of sun exposure, the elimination of certain grains, most notably wheat, sprouted or not, and the value of a balanced, integrated lifestyle with cancer or not, leads to wholeness and healing.

  • DeWayne Wirt

    Chris, I had Colon cancer a couple of years ago. Stage 1. I went through Chemo and Radiation, and was operated on to remove the Tumor. As i went through all this i was reading and learning all i could off the internet. After Healing from the operation.the Oncologist wanted me to go through another round of Chemo. I started this course with a lot of Trepidation. After a couple of rounds I quit. By then i had already begun to change my life style and Diet. With all that i have done. I have lost 60lbs and feel very healthy. My problem now is that i have ED. I have done everything i have read to correct this, to no avail. I am wondering if you know if the Chemo and Radiation are the cause for this? And will i ever get back my sex life? Thanks in Advance, Wayne

    • Hi DeWayne. I imagine the ED is from chemo or radiation, maybe both. I didn’t have any after my surgery.
      The best I can tell you is to keep pumping raw nutrients into your body and hopefully it is something that your body will heal over time.

  • LeAnn

    Hey Chris! Our family takes JuicePlus and a vitamin d supplement…. Do we also need to take a daily multi vitamin or is JuicePlus enough?

    • Hi LeAnn
      Taking a multi too would be good, I prefer to err on the side of “taking too much” rather than not enough. :)

  • Frank

    Dewayne, That is not uncommon after much of your toxic treatment. You will continue to heal and detox and,as it is said, this too shall pass. Don’t become too impatient as you can trust that your vitality will return, likely greater than before.As Chris suggested keep adding these nutrient rich foods, juices, herbs, etc. and this will quicken your recovery. I would also suggest looking into some of Mantak Chias sexual energy practices to help build up and increase your chi.

  • Cheryl Westover

    Hi Chris,
    Do you know which good vitamins /herbs I can take to beat colon / Pancreatic cancers? I already take Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper I heard are good.
    Thankyou !

  • lexluther

    I thought synthetic vitamins were bad