PCN’s Weekly Cancer Prevention Tips
WEEK OF JANUARY 25-31, 2015
Note: We will update this section of our website every week so be sure to check back again soon! – The PCN Team
- Avoid second hand smoke, also called environmental tobacco smoke, as it has been proven to cause lung cancer in non-smoking adults. Children and the foetus are particularly vulnerable to the many adverse effects of second hand smoke.
- Go scent-free! Fragrances mask unpleasant smells of cheap soaps, personal care products, cleaners, detergents and fabric treatments. Artificial fragrances are brews containing many chemicals, some that may contribute to cancer. If you really want a scent, to reduce exposure to phthalates use toilet water or oils with natural scents (rather than perfume). Phthalates, added to make the odour linger, affect hormone actions and can promote cancers.
See previous tips.
Did you know you can get a new cancer prevention tip every day? There is an App for that!
Find out how to reduce your cancer risk by downloading the new Prevent Cancer Now App: 365 Daily Tips. The App contains a wealth of life saving information, and all for just 99¢!
For more information read about the launch of our new App HERE. Do yourself a favour and get the App today. You’ll be glad you did!
WEEK OF JANUARY 18-24, 2015
- Avoid microwave popcorn because the packaging sheds perfluorooctanoic acid, a potential carcinogen that lingers in the body.
- Use a mixture of olive oil and vinegar to use as a furniture polish. Many polishes contain toxic chemicals, and may have a skull and crossbones or warning about ventilation on the label.
WEEK OF JANUARY 11-17, 2015
- Do not overheat or repeatedly reheat cooking oils, because this can create cancer-causing substances.
- Eat tofu! Made from soybeans, tofu is a great source of protein and can be added to many foods such as sauces, stir-fries, puddings, and shakes. Soy also contains phytoestrogen (a weak estrogenic chemical) that may decrease incidence of some cancers and other chronic diseases, particularly after menopause. Anyone sensitive to sulphites should check the label on the tofu package.
WEEK OF JANUARY 4-10, 2015
- Include foods from Mediterranean and Asian traditional cuisine in your diet, as they use ingredients such as spices and herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties, and can activate immune cell production. Traditional dishes will probably be healthier than westernized versions.
- Leave your shoes at the door! Substances tracked in on footwear may carry toxic chemicals such as pesticides, organic pollutants, and heavy metals.
WEEK OF DECEMBER 21-27, 2014
- As we prepare treats and refreshments for family and friends, use lots of colourful fruits and vegetables, and go easy on the sugar and alcohol.
- Over the holidays, enjoy time with friends and family, sing, roam the outdoors, and spend quiet time for your inner peace.
- Use non-toxic cookware, made of glass, stainless steel and cast iron (not made with recycled metals). Avoid non-stick coated cookware. Low levels of fluorinated coating materials can interfere with hormone actions, and promote cancer.
WEEK OF DECEMBER 14-20, 2014
- Good choices for holiday decorations include candles with cotton wicks and no fragrance, or–even better–beeswax. Natural materials are in the spirit of ageless traditions and the changing of the seasons.
- Avoid the antibacterial chemicals triclosan and triclocarban. Washing your hands with plain soap is just as effective as these antibacterial products — and they do NOT promote antibiotic-resistant germs! Triclosan and triclocarban are in many products including antibacterial detergents and soaps, creams, toothpaste, mouthwash, clothing and even plastics (e.g. microban®). These hormone-mimmicking chemicals can pass through the skin and promote cancers. Sewage plants don’t remove these chemicals and in waterways triclosan forms dioxins (that can also cause cancer).
WEEK OF DECEMBER 7-13, 2014
- Keep cell phones away from your body! When possible, leave your mobile phone on a shelf or table, or in a bag/purse. The further away from your body the better. Men should avoid carrying their cell phone in their pants pocket. The radiation harms sperm and may cause prostate and testicular cancer. Women, your bra is also a no-phone-zone. Cases of breast cancer are being reported in young women, directly under where phones were habitually stored.
- Consider green gifts that have a low environmental impact, and always try to avoid plastic packaging. Seek out locally made gifts where possible, or gifts made from natural materials, things you made, or–best of all–your time and love! All material goods carry an environmental cost for resources, manufacturing, packaging, transportation…all the way to eventual disposal.
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 30 – DECEMBER 6, 2014
- Sweet potatoes, yams and orange squashes are a good source of vitamin A, potassium and calcium, along with important flavenoids. They add color to your meal, and can be used in appetizers, soups, side-dishes and desserts. Include them in your diet along with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables.
- For a healthy alternative to commercial polishes, polish brass with a soft cloth dipped in lemon juice or a baking soda/water paste.
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 23-29, 2014
Don’t purchase goods made of PVC plastic (polyvinyl chloride, recycling symbol 3), or packaged in tough, clear packaging. PVC is not easily recycled. It is the most toxic plastic to manufacture, it requires hormone-mimicking plasticizers to be non-brittle, it contains potentially toxic stabilizers, and forms dioxins (very toxic chemicals) when burned. PVC from China is made using a process that releases mercury, and this mercury is polluting Canada’s north.
- Avoid PVC packaging.
- Tell store managers and manufacturers (call the number on the product, or via their website) that you want minimal cardboard packaging.
- Tell your politicians that they should ban this type of packaging.
- Consider organizing take-back-the-package events at local stores.
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 16-22, 2014
- Try mushrooms! Oyster, cremini, shiitake, maitake, reishi, kawaratake, enokitake and other mushrooms contain selenium, lentinian and other phytonutrients such as polyphenols, which modulate the immune system to reduce cancer. Include mushrooms on a regular basis in your diet, along with a rich variety of fruits, vegetables and seeds.
- Beige is the new black. Use unbleached paper towels, coffee filters, lunch bags, napkins and paper plates, as white paper bleached with chlorine has a residue of dioxin, a known carcinogen. Effluents from pulp bleaching plants can also harm communities where the products are made. Depending upon the process, mercury released during bleach production can also pollute communities for generations. Mercury is blown around the world, building up towards the poles (e.g. accumulating whales and polar bears).
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 9-15, 2014
- Try turnips! They are a cruciferous vegetable, containing cancer-fighting indoles and isothiocyanates and other health promoting phytochemicals. Turnips are also particularly high in anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates. Include turnips in your diet, along with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Never use talcum powder, especially on babies. Talc is closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos, and has been linked to lung cancer. Studies also show that the risk of both womb and ovarian cancers are increased with the genital use of talc. The Canadian Pediatric Society advises against talc, although Health Canada accepts its use. Take action to educate your pediatricians and hospitals if they have no policy against talc on infants.
WEEK OF NOVEMBER 2-8, 2014
- Get enough folic acid (folate). It is an important B vitamin that is essential for the healthy development of the nervous system, and helps to reduce the risk of cancers. You need folate every day, because it is not stored in the body. Many fruits, vegetables and nuts contain folate, and it is added to some flours. Top picks include dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, asparagus, sunflower seeds, and foods made with enriched flour.
- Minimize shift work and ensure you sleep well between shifts, to reduce the cancer risk arising from sleep disruption. Supplementation with melatonin is being investigated for cancer reduction in shift workers.
WEEK OF OCTOBER 26 – NOVEMBER 1, 2014
- Avoid common commercial fabric softeners as they contain toxic chemicals that may cause nervous system damage, respiratory problems and cancer. The raw ingredients (made from rendered animal remains) smell unpleasant, so fragrances (over 1000 possible chemicals) and agents to dull the sense of smell are added. Phthalates (endocrine disruptors) are added to make the fragrances last longer. Liquid fabric softeners add toxic chemicals to the waterways, while dryer sheets pollute the air. Instead, skip “softening” clothes altogether, buy a set of re-usable dryer balls or add a quarter-cup of vinegar to your wash cycle.
- Say no to plastic grass! It’s a polyethylene-polypropylene blend fashioned from fossil fuels and the rubber crumb underlay contains numerous toxic chemicals. Too many soccer goalies get cancer.
WEEK OF OCTOBER 19-25, 2014
- Dust is a major source of toxins. Leave shoes at the door, mop floors, vacuum–preferably with a high-efficiency particle arrester (HEPA) filter, and dust surfaces with a clean, damp cloth frequently!
- Drink lots of water. Avoid sodas and “fruit punch” that contain high levels of sugar and may contain additives with no nutritional value, but that may be harmful. “Sugar-free” versions with artificial sweeteners are no better.
WEEK OF OCTOBER 12-18, 2014
- Text instead of talking on your cell phone, to keep the device at a distance. For talking, always use speakerphone or earphones, or at least switch back and forth between ears.
- Consider cooking or juicing hard or tough vegetables such as carrots or beets, to improve absorption of nutrients. Breaking down the plant cell walls makes the phytonutrients more accessible.
WEEK OF OCTOBER 5-11, 2014
- Use 100% organic cotton, linen, wool and hemp. Other fabrics may be doused with pesticides, bleached with chlorine, dyed with toxic heavy metals and aromatic amines, made wrinkle-free with formaldehyde based resins, and made stain resistant with hormone-mimicking fluorinated chemicals.
- Use only chlorine-free sanitizers and fragrance-free products. As well, do not use conventional air “fresheners” that dispense potentially toxic chemicals to mask unpleasant odors.
WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 28 – OCTOBER 4, 2014
- Eat pumpkin, a member of the Curcubitae family, as it contains high levels of fiber and carotenoids, which may reduce the risk of colon cancer. It also contains beta-cryptoxanthin, which may reduce the risk of lung cancer. Include pumpkin in your diet along with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Moderate your salt intake! Many people eat more salt than is necessary or healthy. Higher incidence of stomach, esophagus, and bladder cancer among populations with high salt intake is due in part to salt-preserved foods (e.g. sausages and other processed meats) and due in part to the saltshaker. Although it’s not clear as to the degree each contribute, it is clear that salt contributes to cancer as well as other chronic diseases, so it is best used with greater restraint. Use other seasonings such as vinegar, garlic, herbs, and spices as tasty substitutes for salt.
WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 21-27, 2014
- Eat plenty of cabbage, including fermented cabbage. As a cruciferous vegetable, it is often cited as an important vegetable in terms of its cancer fighting ability, as it contains indoles and isothiocyanates. Fermented vegetables contain important bacteria for intestinal health.
- Avoid plastic food storage containers, and never heat food or beverages in plastic containers. Always use glass!
WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 14-20, 2014
- Choose food preserved in glass rather than cans. The plastic linings of most cans may leach chemicals that interfere with hormone function.
- Drive less and cycle, walk, jog, rollerblade and bus more. This increases physical activity, and reduces transportation-related pollution including carcinogens and greenhouse gases.
WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 6 – 13, 2014
- Use chlorine-free treatments for pool water, such as ozone, salt water, or a water conditioner/hydrogen peroxide blend. Chlorinated water produces toxic by-products.
- Include arugula in a rich variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, and chew your food well. Arugula contains glucosinolates, which when chewed, are converted to isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates have well documented anticancer properties.
WEEK OF AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 6, 2014
- Demand non-toxic alternatives from manufacturers which include toxic ingredients on their product labels, by calling their toll free numbers. Not all products have ingredient lists, but if you suspect a harmful ingredient is present, possibly through its odor, make the call!
- Citrus peels, particularly lemon, contain D-limonene. Limonene regulates enzymes that detoxify carcinogens and also dissolves cholesterol in gallstones. Higher consumption is linked with lower incidence of skin, mammary, liver and lung cancers. When making lemonade be sure to use organic lemons so you can include the peel (it won’t have pesticides and wax)!
WEEK OF AUGUST 24-30, 2014
- Eat seaweeds such as nori, kombu, wakame, arame, and dulse. They contain molecules that slow cancer growth, especially that of breast, prostate, skin, and colon cancer.
- Get enough sleep! The International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) has deemed ‘lack of sleep’ a carcinogen. This is believed to be due to lowered levels of melatonin. Sleep and melatonin production is not only disrupted by poor habits, it is also disrupted by light and electromagnetic radiation from wireless devices. If you address habits and your environment and still have trouble sleeping, or have an irregular schedule, consider a supplement of melatonin at bedtime.
WEEK OF AUGUST 17-23, 2014
- When choosing fruits and vegetables, generally fresh is better than frozen; and frozen is better than dried or canned. If you have the freezer space, quick-freeze on cookie sheets and save the summer harvest!
- Use lemon juice and water for general cleaning, cutting grease
and polishing metal.
WEEK OF AUGUST 10-16, 2014
- Avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their associated pesticides because they are increasingly suspected of causing cancers and other conditions. 100% organic foods do not contain GMOs, but unless other foods are labelled you can only guess what is in it. GMOs (particularly corn and soy) are common in processed foods, and labelling initiatives are fought by corporate interests.
- Fix all moisture, leaks and drips in your home and workplace promptly. Some chemicals emitted by moulds are carcinogenic. Any mould in your building should be sealed off until the mouldy material can be safely removed and repairs completed. Safe work practices include isolation of the space, ventilation to the outdoors, personal protection, and thorough cleanup. If you have a large mould problem, it’s a job for a professional.
WEEK OF AUGUST 3-9, 2014
- Take up yoga, meditation, tai chi or qigong! These traditional physical-mental activities can reduce the impact of stress, improve your physiology and stimulate the body’s natural defenses against cancer and other diseases.
- Go fragrance-free as “fragrance” is a mixture of many chemicals, some of which have been linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Phthalates, chemicals to make the scent last longer, disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system in the body. To scent air naturally, boil cinnamon and cloves in water in a shallow pan or use bowls of natural potpourri. You can also use natural absorbents such as baking soda, activated charcoal, or lava rock.
WEEK OF JULY 27 – AUGUST 2, 2014
- Reduce or limit your exposure to toxic elements such as lead, chromium and cadmium in ceramic glazes, stained-glass materials, leaded crystal, and many pigments, including acrylic and oil paints.
- Be strategic with your wireless communication devices, using them only when the signal is strong and turning off whenever possible.
WEEK OF JULY 20-26, 2014
- Opt for hardwood flooring, ceramic tiles or natural carpeting as synthetic carpeting may off-gas up to 120 volatile chemicals, especially in the first few months after installation. Dyes, binders, flame retardants and stain-resistant treatments in the synthetic carpets are also hazardous to your health. Hazards are even greater for children playing on the carpet.
- The richer a population’s diet is in vegetables and legumes (peas, beans and lentils) the lower the rate of cancer and many related chronic diseases. Eat these abundantly! The “creative cook” can add puréed veggies to sauces, cakes, cookies…just about anything! Try cauliflower or squash in cheese sauces, carrots or zucchini in cakes, spinach in spaghetti sauces, or extra veggies in soups.
WEEK OF JULY 13-19, 2014
- Air out dry-cleaned garments for several hours or days (preferably outdoors) before wearing! This reduces your exposure to the toxic perchloroethylene (tetrachloroethene) used in conventional dry-cleaning.
- Avoid talc and talcum powder! It is closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos and has been linked to lung cancer. As well, the risk of ovarian cancer is increased with the genital use of talc. Contact local pediatricians and hospitals to find out if they have a policy on the use of talc on infants. If they don’t, take action to educate them.
WEEK OF JULY 6-12, 2014
- Don’t use wireless communications unless there is no alternative. Use wires/cables/fibre for computers at home, work and school.
- Avoid deodorants and antiperspirants containing aluminum, fragrances, aerosol propellants and triclosan (especially for women who shave their underarms, as this facilitates the penetration of harmful substances).
WEEK OF JUNE 29 – JULY 5, 2014
- Avoid hydrogenated vegetable fats (trans fats) as these processed oils have been linked specifically to cancer.
- Beware of “greenwashing” and do your homework before you purchase! Many “eco” products are available that are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and free of fragrance, chlorine and other toxins. Use these rather than conventional brands whenever possible.
WEEK OF JUNE 22-28, 2014
- Inquire about pest control history if you are looking for an apartment or condominium. Make sure you talk to the landlord or building manager before making a decision–better safe than sorry! Sanitation and non-toxic strategies are the way to go, rather than spraying toxic pesticides. If your current dwelling (or surrounding grounds) has an infestation of pests, explore and advocate for least-toxic strategies for their control and removal.
- Don’t eat foods that look even a bit discolored, as they may be contaminated with mould toxins such as aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are produced by moulds that grow on foods such as seeds, including grains, legumes and nuts.
WEEK OF JUNE 15-21, 2014
- Use olive or coconut oil as a moisturizer, rather than harmful commercial products.
- Spray plants with soap and water, rather than toxic insecticides, to kill aphids. Rinse with water after about 10 minutes to avoid burning the leaves.
WEEK OF JUNE 8-14, 2014
- Keep your distance! Wait until the other person has picked up the call before putting the cell phone to your ear. A large amount of electromagnetic radiation is emitted before the call has actually connected.
- Know your mothballs! Do not use mothballs containing naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene as they are suspected human carcinogens that may damage the eyes, blood, liver, kidneys, skin, and central nervous system. Instead, place clean clothing in sealed bags for storage. Otherwise, use natural alternatives like cedar balls or panels, and dried marigold, lavender, citronella, and pennyroyal.
WEEK OF JUNE 1-7, 2014
- Don’t eat charred foods as they contain carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and possibly acrylamide, depending on the food. PAHs are formed during grilling, searing and roasting. Even dark toast is best avoided.
- Do not use non-stick cookware. The coating emits toxic chemicals when heated, especially at higher temperatures and when old or scratched. Use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel cookware.
WEEK OF MAY 25-31, 2014
- Prepare your rice right! Inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, is hyperaccumulated by rice. Thus, rice plants exposed to arsenic in the soil or water may have high levels in the grain. This is fairly common, but there is no way of knowing if your rice is affected. To reduce this somewhat, always pre-soak rice in ample water and/or cook it in excess water and drain before serving.
- Eat plenty of dark greens such as romaine lettuce and spinach, for fiber, folate, and a range of cancer-fighting carotenoids. Be sure to include them in your daily diet along with a rich variety of fruits and vegetables.
WEEK OF MAY 18-24, 2014
- Location is key! If possible, choose to live in a community where you can commute to work or school, and can run your errands, on foot or by bicycle. While doing so, avoid heavily trafficked roads.
- Beans and lentils are your friends! Researchers have found a significantly reduced frequency of breast cancer in women with a higher intake of dried beans or lentils . They found that eating these foods two (or more) times a week resulted in a 24% lower risk. Also, a phytochemical found in beans called diosgenin appears to inhibit cancer cells from multiplying. The popular Indian food, Dahl, is a great way to consume these foods and a wonderful protein choice for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
WEEK OF MAY 11-17, 2014
- Plant a tree, or lots of trees! Foliage acts as an air filter and cool the environment. Air pollution, and higher smog with higher temperatures, cause cancers and other chronic diseases, and deaths.
- Exercise! Adults should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 5 or more days a week. Exercise increases strength and reduces stress. Toxicants are excreted in sweat. Exercise increases your insulin receptor sensitivity and lowers your insulin and leptin (hormone signaling a feeling of satiety) levels. Exercise also improves the circulation of immune cells and your lymphatic system, which eliminate precancerous cells. Children need daily vigorous exercise.
WEEK OF MAY 4-10, 2014
- Promote affordable organic foods through personal and community gardens, co-ops, and advocacy.
- Avoid farmed fish as they contain higher levels of toxins such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenols). Among other health effects, PCBs can increase the risk of certain types of cancer in humans.
WEEK OF APRIL 27 – MAY 3, 2014
- Keep your cell phone away from you at night unless you have it on ‘airplane’ or ‘offline’ mode, which stops electromagnetic emissions.
- Use a good quality turmeric liberally in your cooking. Curcumin is the principle molecule in turmeric responsible for its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effect. Curcumin inhibits the growth in the laboratory of a large number of cancers: colon, prostate, lung, liver, stomach, breast, ovarian, brain, and leukemia. Add black pepper to turmeric so that it will be better absorbed into the body.
WEEK OF APRIL 20-26, 2014
- Paradichlorobenzene (PDB) is a possible carcinogen found in “pucks” for diaper pails and urinals, mothballs and, ironically, “deodorizers.” PDB has a strong odour and may pollute the air in an entire building. Avoid these products, and if you come across it in public places, inform management that they should not be used.
- Avoid processed meats. In your body, the nitrate preservative forms carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds. For example, research shows higher risks of childhood leukemia with intake of hot dogs, and bladder cancer with intake of bacon. Prolonged boiling of hot dogs will leach some of the nitrate.
WEEK OF APRIL 13-19, 2014
- Ragweed germinates as soon as the snow disappears, but corn gluten meal can stop it. Sprinkle this natural herbicide in areas where ragweed grew last year, as soon as the snow disappears, to minimize the misery in August. Corn gluten meal is sometimes labelled as a fertilizer.
- Eat beets for their fiber, folate and a wide range of cancer-fighting carotenoids, along with a rich variety of other vegetables and fruits in your diet.
WEEK OF APRIL 6-12, 2014
- Varnish and paints may contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as aromatic hydrocarbons. Choose a low-VOC or no-VOC water-based product. If you must use solvent-based products, you can limit your exposure to harmful vapours by wearing protective equipment including eyewear, gloves and a fitted mask with carbon canisters. Use the product outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. Avoid products with a skull and crossbones on the label.
- Foods that have a high sulphur content such as brassicas (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale) and alliums (e.g. onions and garlic) support higher levels of glutathione in the body. Glutathione is essential for excretion of toxic metals, and is an important antioxidant or redox regulator for pathways that promote death of early cancer cells.
WEEK OF MARCH 31 – APRIL 5, 2014
- Keep the humidity low in your basement. Throughout the year it can be cool and damp, which promotes mold growth.
- Rather than aluminum based deodorants or antiperspirants, use baking soda as a safer option. Shaving is also a good practice to reduce body odor. Bacteria stuck to the skin, and especially to the hair, cause the smell.
WEEK OF MARCH 24-30, 2014
- Avoid drinks containing artificial sweeteners, as some may be linked to cancers. As well, the body becomes hungry for the anticipated calories, resulting in food cravings, which can lead to poor food choices. Cellular signaling is also upset, leading to obesity and other related chronic diseases. Being obese is linked with higher risk of cancer.
- Use white distilled vinegar and water to clean your home, office or automobile. It is a mild disinfectant and cleaning eliminates many odors.
WEEK OF MARCH 17-23, 2014
- Dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa) contains a number of antioxidants, proanthocyanidins, and polyphenols. These molecules slow the growth of cancer cells and limit the formation of blood vessels that feed tumor growth (angiogenesis). Twenty grams a day (one fifth of an average bar) is a recommended serving size.