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How Top Doctors Prevent Cancer

Pick Power Fruits

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"I make smoothies with pomegranates and blueberries because my research shows that both these fruits contain compounds that can slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells." —Shuian Chen, Ph.D., director, Tumor Cell Biology Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope

Keep the Scale Steady

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"More than 90,000 cancer deaths a year occur due to being overweight. Carrying as little as 10 extra pounds may increase your production of sex hormones like estrogen, raising your risk for breast and uterine cancers. I step on the scale every few days. If the number creeps up, I try to exercise a little more or eat a little less to get back on track." —Ann Kulze, M.D., director, Prevent Cancer Foundation

Handle Clothes with Care

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"Many dry cleaners use cancer-causing solvents, like perchloroethylene, so I try to avoid them. To reduce your exposure, look for a cleaner that uses wet-cleaning or CO2 (compressed carbon dioxide) methods. Or take the plastic covering off your clothes as soon as you get home so the toxic vapors won’t be trapped near the fabric." —Thom E. Lobe, M.D., medical director, Beneveda Medical Group

Get Radon on Your Radar

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"Radon—an odorless gas, found in soil, that can seep into the basements of homes—is the second- leading cause of lung cancer. After buying a radon detection kit at the hardware store, I learned my reading was in the normal range. If yours is high, you can install a radon remediation system, which costs $1,000 to $2,000." —Doug Arenberg, M.D., associate professor of medicine, University of Michigan

Go Greek!

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"My diet is mostly Mediterranean—plenty of fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. People who eat this way, exercise regularly, and don't smoke cut their odds of getting cancer by at least 60 percent."—Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., director, MD Anderson Cancer Center's Integrative Medicine Program

Watch your Mouth

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"Oral cancers are on the rise among people ages 20 to 40, which we believe is because of HPV spread through oral sex. I always look for unusual changes in my patient's mouth, like sores or blisters on the cheeks, tongue, or lips. It usually takes less than two minutes. If your dentist doesn't already do this, ask her to start." —Gigi Meinecke, D.M.D., a dentist in Potomac, Maryland

Dive Into the Gene Pool

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"My mother had colon cancer at 62, so I started getting colonoscopies in my late 40s, a few years earlier than the recommended age. Most cancers are not genetic, but having a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) or several second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, grandparents) with cancer can place you at a higher- than-average risk for these diseases." —Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Yale School of Medicine

Cut Back on Sugar

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"The average American consumes 185 pounds of the sweet stuff in a year, or five times the recommended amount. Too much sugar can act like a fertilizer for cancer cells, encouraging them to grow and multiply. I always opt for seltzer or unsweetened tea flavored with lemon instead of sweetened beverages." —Mark Hyman, M.D., author of The UltraSimple Diet

Spice Things Up

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"Cooking meat over high temps creates carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines, or HCA. I marinate meat and add herbs before grilling. Our studies show that doing this can slash levels of HCA by 40 percent." —J. Scott Smith, Ph.D., chair, Kansas State University's Food Graduate Program

Pamper Yourself

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"Research shows there's an undeniable link between stressed mental and emotional states and your susceptibility to disease, including cancer. Taking time out to do something just for you can reduce anxiety and give you a sense of control over your life. I try to book a massage once a month." —Susan Silberstein, Ph.D., CEO, beatcancer.org

Add Tumeric

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"An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, this yellow spice attacks the core pathways that allow cancer cells to develop." —David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D., author of Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Fit in Fitness

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"Getting sweaty for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of developing colon, breast, and endometrial cancers by 20 to 30 percent. Each morning I go for a run, or play tennis." —Jeffrey Meyerhardt, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Be Phone Smart

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"Cell phones emit radiation, which may up your odds of developing a brain tumor. Although the research is controversial, I take that risk seriously— and recommend that everyone use a headset." —John Tew, M.D., clinical director, University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute

Clean Green

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"We tested more than 20 cleaning products and found they released up to seven carcinogens not listed on the label. Among the worst offenders were air fresheners and bathroom cleaners. I make my own cleaners from baking soda and vinegar." —Rebecca Sutton, Ph.D., senior scientist, Environmental Working Group

Pass on Plastic

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quot;I never microwave anything in a plastic container. Pthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), which can leach into food when plastics are heated, mimics hormones and may increase the risk of certain cancers, including breast and ovarian. Use a microwave-safe ceramic or glass bowl instead." —Jeffrey Morrison, M.D., founder, The Morrison Center

Eat Berries

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"All types of this fruit contain a phytochemical ellagic acid, which has been shown to slow tumor growth and help eliminate carcinogenic substances from the body." —David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D., author of Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Get the Right Screen

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"Research shows that 15 percent of breast cancers are undetected by mammography alone. This number is higher in women with dense breasts. I always ask my referring physician for my breast density number (or BI-RAD). If it's a 3 or 4 you may be more at risk, in which case I would request an additional ultrasound." —Marla Lander, M.D., medical director, The Breast Health Center

Up Your "D"-fense

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"Vitamin D (aka the ‘sunshine' vitamin) plays a key role in boosting the immune system and protecting against cancer. Low levels of D may be connected to roughly 85,000 cancer deaths a year, while having enough of the vitamin can cut your breast and colon cancer risk by 50 percent. That's why I take a supplement with about 1,000 IU every day." —Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., an internist in Kona, Hawaii

Love Broccoli

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"Like its cruciferous cousins, cauliflower and bok choy, broccoli contains sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinols, powerful molecules that prevent precancerous cells from developing into tumors." —David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D., author of Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Make Alcohol a Treat

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"Having even one cocktail daily ups your breast cancer risk by about 12 percent, and the more you drink, the higher your chances. Alcohol may increase the level of estrogen circulating in the body, which can promote cancer growth. I make wine a weekend-only treat and limit myself to just a glass." —Wendy Y. Chen, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School

Bypass BPA

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"Research shows that BPA isn't limited to plastics—the chemical is also found in the linings of cans. That's why I stick to mostly fresh or frozen vegetables." —M. Catherine Lee, M.D., surgical oncologist, Moffitt Cancer Center

Vet Your Doctor

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"When I make an appointment for my annual mammogram, I request a radiologist who is specifically trained in breast imaging. That way I know that this is a person who reads breast images all day, every day—they're more likely to catch an abnormality." —Therese B. Bevers, M.D., medical director, Cancer Prevention Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center

Bulk up Your Diet

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"Fiber can reduce the number of potentially cancerous polyps in the colon. I eat a high- fiber cereal that contains at least 4 grams of fiber per serving. You need at least 25 grams a day." —Karen Luster, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Emory University

Slow Down Garden Only

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"I focus on what I'm doing at the moment. Hundreds of studies show that stress can weaken your immune system, which can compromise your ability to fight off certain cancers. I love to
garden—thinking about how far apart to put the plants or pulling out weeds is meditative." —Machelle Seibel, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Massachusetts

Pile on Onions

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"Along with garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives, this pungent herb has sulfuric compounds that protect against cancerous mutations in the colon, breasts, and lungs." —David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D., author of Anticancer: A New Way of Life