Beat Cancer Today
We asked doctors and researchers: how do you dodge one of Australia’s top killers? One answer is obvious: don’t smoke. Here are 10 more
Use top docs’ personal prescriptions to take on the big C.
MIST YOUR MUG
Your skin wins your body’s prize for “Most Likely To Get Cancer”. Every morning, dermatologist Dr Joseph Sobanko uses generic broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen with either zinc or titanium dioxide. He shuts his eyes and applies an even coat on his face after he brushes his teeth and combs his hair. We like Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 ($24.95, littleurchin.com.au).
WRAP IT UP
A diet rich in vegetables, fibre and omega-3 fats can curb inflammation and help fight cancer. Dr Philippe Spiess, a genitourinary oncologist, eats what he calls a “power egg breakfast wrap”. He heats ¼ cup of frozen spinach in a pan and mixes it with an egg and 200 milliliters (nearly a cup) of egg white. The cooked mixture then goes into a whole wheat wrap with a pinch of cheese, a third of an avocado and a tablespoon of hot sauce. To ensure good sleep at night – when cell repair occurs – he takes a melatonin supplement 30 minutes before lights out. Nature Made gummies go down easy.
POP LOW-DOSE ASPIRIN
Aspirin does more than soothe aches and stifle heart attacks; it curbs colon inflammation. Cancer specialist Dr Daniel Rosenberg tells everyone he knows to take 81 milligrams a day. Ask your doctor first, because some people run the risk of excessive bleeding. “If your doctor approves, you should do it,” he says. In a study review published in Annals of Internal Medicine, people who took 75-1,200 milligrams of aspirin daily for at least a year reduced their risk of dying of colorectal cancer by 33 per cent over 20 years.
TAKE A SKIN SUPPLEMENT
Anthony Rossi, a dermatologist, takes nicotinamide each morning with water and food. Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that may reduce the formation of certain skin cancers, possibly by blunting the cell damage induced by UV rays. (But taking it doesn’t exempt you from using sunscreen.) Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement, of course.
BOLT DOWN SOME NUTS
When Dr Matthew Yurgelun, a medical oncologist, needs a snack, he eats almonds or pistachios. “It’s a great way to quell hunger and keep me from snacking on fatty or sugary foods that can contribute to weight gain and obesity-related diseases, such as cancer,” he says. A National Institutes of Health study even showed that smokers who snacked on nuts reduced their risk of lung cancer, possibly because nuts curb oxidative stress associated with smoking. Eat 20-24 nuts a day.
ORDER THE FISH
UCLA urologist Christopher Saigal eats fish but not meat. A typical dinner is a salmon fillet with brown rice and vegetables. Try it twice a week. “I tell patients that ‘heart healthy’ foods have been associated with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer and a lower risk of progression of prostate cancer after diagnosis.” Plus, a UK study review linked red and processed meats with colorectal cancer.
CALM THE HELL DOWN!
Chronic stress can feed cancer. Here’s your 15-minute prescription from urologist Dr Nelson Bennett: sit with the door closed, phone silenced. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale from your mouth 10 times. Close your eyes and notice the sounds around you – even the hum of fluorescent lights. Then bring your thoughts to your breaths. Don’t worry if your mind wanders. It took Bennett about 15 sessions to get comfortable. “The more I practised it, the easier it got,” he says. You’ll get positive reinforcement: less stress with deadlines and better focus on demand.