Most people will never read the President's Cancer Panel Report even though it has very important information on ways to help prevent cancer. So I've made it easy and have provided you with 13 Basic Tips that everyone should follow to help prevent cancer and maintain wellness.
“Children are exposed to toxic and carcinogenic chemicals and radiation through the air they breathe, the food and water they consume, medications they are given, and the environment in which they live, including their homes, schools, day care centers, and even the motor vehicles in which they ride. Pound for pound, children take in more food, water, air, and other environmental substances than adults. Children also can be exposed to toxins in utero via placental transfer and/or after birth via breast milk. Tests of umbilical cord blood found traces of nearly 300 pollutants in newborns’ bodies, such as chemicals used in fast-food packaging, flame retardants present in household dust, and pesticides." (President’s Cancer Panel Report, page 5)
Tip #1: Avoid exposure to “chemical soup” by reading labels and knowing the ingredients in the products you purchase. Whether it’s shampoo, drain cleaner or lawn fertilizer, avoid unnecessary chemicals and buy products with the least level of toxicity. This includes buying organic food when possible to limit dietary chemical exposures. For our Green Sources directory to healthier products, please click here (Green Sources ).
Why: “Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety.” (PCPR page ii)
Tip #2: Use filtered water for drinking and bathing. Also avoid using products and practices that pollute waterways. For information on water contaminants and water filtration resources, click here (Water Contaminants)
Why: “In addition to pesticides, agricultural fertilizers and veterinary pharmaceuticals are major contributors to water pollution, both directly and as a result of chemical processes that form toxic by-products when these substances enter the water supply.” (PCPR page iv)
Tip #3: Whenever medical imaging or drugs are offered during a course of treatment, be sure to understand why. Make an informed decision by asking about the pro’s, con’s, and other options available. Keep a list of medical imaging tests administered, for yourself and any family members in your care.
Why: “…Some of these same technologies and drugs that have contributed so greatly to health status and longevity also carry risks… The increase in medical radiation has nearly doubled the total average effective radiation dose per individual in the United States.” (PCPR p. iv) “According to one estimate, a 1-year-old is 10-15 times more likely than a 50-year old to develop a malignancy from the same dose of radiation. Thus, avoiding unnecessary radiation risks in this sensitive population is crucial. As many as one-third of CTs currently performed in children may be unnecessary.” (PCPR p. 71)
Tip #4: Find out about the air quality in your neighborhood by visiting www.scorecard.org. Work with the local health department, nonprofit or community group if needed to make improvements including educating citizens on idling or demanding polluters to comply with anti-pollution laws.
Why: The U.S. EPA estimates that the average increased cancer risk due to inhalation of outdoor air toxics…is that “an additional 36 people per million (approximately 11,000 Americans based on current population estimates) could be expected to develop cancer as a result of breathing air toxics compared to those not exposed.” Thirty percent of this risk is attributable to “personal cars, power boats, off-road vehicles, and other on-road vehicles, excluding particulate matter from diesel exhaust.” (PCPR page 51)
Tip #5: Avoid smoking and reduce your family’s exposure to second-hand smoke.
Why: “Tobacco smoke contains approximately 4,000 chemicals, including 69 known carcinogens. Tobacco use (including the use of smokeless tobacco) is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States.” (PCPR p. 52)
Tip #6: Use cell phones with caution: reduce length of calls, avoid “wearing” the cell phone on a belt or carrying it in a pocket, and avoid holding it next to your head either by using speakerphone, an “air tube” headset, or using texting. (link to: http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Safe%C2%AE-Hollow-Hands-free-Headset/dp/B003AO55JY)
Why: “Unlike adults – even longer term cell phone users – children have ahead of them a lifetime of RF [radiofrequency] and other radiation exposures and, therefore, special caution is prudent. At this time, no long-term epidemiologic studies of cancer risk related to cell phone use by children or adolescents are available.” (PCPR p. 59)
Tip #7: Reduce exposure to ultraviolet light by using a nontoxic sunscreen, staying out of the sun during peak hours, and avoiding tanning devices.
Why: “Exposure to UVA and UVB radiation from the sun, sun lamps, and tanning beds is the major cause of all three types of skin cancer – melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.” (PCPR p. 61) Also be aware that certain medications, diet and overall immune system health may contribute to skin cancer risk. Talk to your doctor about potential medication side effects. Increase skin health and reduce oxidative stress on the skin by eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, healthy oils and whole grains. Minimizing intake of animal fats may further reduce risk for skin cancer, as well as other cancers. For more, see www.anticancerbook.com.
Tip #8: Know your Vitamin D3 level, and work with your physician to correct it if needed. The only way to know if you’re getting enough vitamin D is through a blood test.
Why: “…Total protection from UV is also harmful, since a modest amount of UVB is required for the body to produce vitamin D in the skin. Research on the health effects of vitamin D suggests that this vitamin may be protective against numerous diseases, including some cancers, and that vitamin D deficiency may be associated with chronic diseases that are more prevalent in northern latitudes.” (PCPR p. 61)
Tip #9: Check home radon levels before purchasing a home, and periodically thereafter. Levels should also be checked likewise in schools and businesses. For tips and tools to protect yourself from radon, see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Citizen’s Guide to Radon (link to: http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html)
Why: “Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the leading cause of lung cancer among people who have never smoked. Radon-induced lung cancer is responsible for an estimated average of 21,000 deaths annually, though scientists believe the range could be as wide as 8,000-45,000 radon deaths per year.” (PCPR p. 89)
Tip #10: Know the “windows of vulnerability” for environmental exposures: the prenatal period, early life (birth through toddler years), and adolescence. Be an advocate for protecting children especially during these "windows" of rapid cell division and growth. Make sure your home is as healthy as possible by eliminating toxic exposures through "building green." Use non-toxic paints and finishes, fabrics and carpets without stain repellents, and organic bedding and nursery furnishings. For more ideas, see Greening Your Home at:Eliminating Toxins In Your Home. Spread the word among your friends, neighbors and family, and to local schools, daycare centers or hospitals.
Why: “Opportunities for eliminating or minimizing cancer-causing and cancer-promoting environmental exposures must be acted upon to protect all Americans, but especially children. They are at special risk due to their smaller body mass and rapid physical development, both of which magnify their vulnerability to known or suspected carcinogens, including radiation. Numerous environmental contaminants can cross the placental barrier; to a disturbing extent, babies are born ‘pre-polluted.’” (PCPR p. 98)
Tip #11: Use non-toxic cleaning products in your home. If possible, inquire if your workplace or your child’s school can switch over as well.
Why: Cleaning products commonly contain hazardous chemicals including carcinogens, neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors. Product residues typically settle on surfaces and floors where children play. Switching to non-toxic products eliminates these exposures and improves indoor air quality, helping to prevent chronic health conditions such as asthma. To learn more, see (Greening the Cleaning)
Tip #12: Use non-toxic personal care products including shampoo, soaps, make-up, moisturizers, and sunscreens.
Why: Most people, including children, use 5-15 personal care products a day. Unfortunately, the FDA does not require that product ingredients be tested for safety. Until our current laws become safer, humans are the guinea pigs. We must protect ourselves. Learn more in my bestseller,Essential Green You : Easy Ways to Detox Your Diet, Your Body, and Your Life
Tip #13: Eat organic local whole foods. Stretch your budget by choosing organic versions of the fruits and vegetables that are most heavily sprayed (for a list, see http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php). Shop local farmer’s markets (ask if the products are organic), join a food co-op, or grow your own at home or in a community garden.
Why: Eating organic significantly reduces your exposure to toxic pesticides that are linked to cancer, as well as neurological and reproductive problems. Locally-sourced items reduce the amount of energy needed to transport food. A whole foods diet does not include processed foods, which are often high in trans-fats, salt, and chemical additives and preservatives.
Final Thought: “It is more effective to prevent disease than to treat it…” (PCPR p. 97)
To view the President’s Cancer Panel 2008-09 Report,