As you may know, American Cancer Society has generated a Cancer Calendar. Each month is dedicated to raising awareness about 1 or more types of cancer.

Starting TODAY, I will post important information about the cancer(s) of the month. I will post Facts vs Myths about each and provide you with tips to prevent, reduce your risk, and protect yourself against risk factors.

May is the awareness month for Melanoma, Brain, and Bladder Cancers.

I will start with Melanoma today. Stay tuned for more!

Melanoma Quick Facts:

Risk factors:

I- Light, fair skin, light overall complexion, moles, family history/genetics.

II- Compromised immune system (chemo, organ transplant, HIV/AIDS)

III- Genetic mutations/alterations in some genes (BRAF, P53 among others)


Myths vs Facts:

Myth OR Fact?

You should avoid the sun at all cost or you will get skin cancer.


Myth. Surprised? Healthy exposure to sunlight not only does NOT cause skin cancer, but it is GOOD for you. The BEST source of Vitamin D, a powerful antioxidant that actually protects against many cancers comes from direct sunlight.


Myth OR Fact?

The strongest sunscreen is best and will protect against cancer.


Myth. YES, that is a myth. In fact FDA published recently that SPF higher than 30 is very unreliable and questionable.

Moreover, do you think our cavemen ancestors used sunscreen? NO, they stayed in the shade periodically when the sun was very hot. They avoided sunburn.


Myth OR Fact?

Sunscreen can be harmful to your health and damaging to the environment.


Fact. Why is this a fact?

  1. Sunscreen is made of chemicals that are strong enough to block the UV lights, doesn’t that tell you something?

  2. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and therefore provides a large surface area for the absorption of toxic chemicals such as Oxybenzone, which is a major component in most sunscreens. This chemical is known to cause irritations, allergic reactions, among other things. Human skin can absorb between 0.4% to 8.7% of oxybenzone after one topical application of sunscreen, as measured in urine excretions. This number can increase after multiple applications over the same period of time. Oxybenzone is particularly marketed as effective because it is the most strongly penetrated through the skin and is highly Lipophilic (OR Fat loving) of the three most common UV filters, and therefore sticks to the skin fat cells and gets absorbed. Also, recent studies showed that Oxybenzone is toxic to coral reefs and bleaches corals. See Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Myth OR Fact?

Some sunscreens may cause cancer.


Fact

Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A that is found in many sunscreen products. When it is exposed to sunlight, it can promote growth of cancerous tumors and form free-radicals that damage DNA, according to a 2009 study by the FDA.


HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF SKIN CANCER

DO:

  • Be smart about length and amount of direct exposure. Daily exposure to sunlight in small to moderate doses is fine.

  • Take periodic breaks and enjoy small doses.

  • Eat natural fats that protect your skin against UV: these come in fish, fish oil, sardines etc.

  • ALL vegetables and fruits have lots of protective antioxidants. One of the ways UV damages DNA is creating Free Radicals. Antioxidants fight Free Radicals.

  • Vitamin D and Vitamin E are 2 fat soluble vitamins that also protect against UV damage.

  • Stay hydrated. Dry skin is more prone to damage.

  • Get daily healthy dose of Vitamin D from the sun, counterintuitive right? Vitamin D is cancer protective

DO NOT:

  • Repeatedly be exposed to LONG direct sunlight when it is the strongest and hottest (around 11am -2pm).

  • Repeatedly get sunburns, especially if you have fair skin.

  • Smoke or drink alcohol

  • Consume toxic foods, instead enjoy a clean healthy diet

  • Put harmful chemicals on your skin.


What you don't know about vegan and vegetarian diets

I get many questions, but this one is almost always one of the first things people ask me OR assume about me: Are you a vegan or vegetarian?? To their surprise my answer always is: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Why you ask? Well, simple answer is really in another question I follow up with: “Would you ever make your cat or dog be vegan? Do you think they would survive?” Their facial expression is quite interesting something like: Are you out of your mind?? Well, few years ago, I had to cat sit for a family who was strictly vegetarian. I had known the cat, Xena, for many years, and she was always a happy jolly Chubby cat. The couple told me before, Xena is not feeling well, not eating, losing weight…. We think she may have cancer!! Well, the first night I stayed with this Xena, I went to feed her. If you can believe it, someone had created a vegetarian cat food!!! My thought: Are they crazy?? No wonder she is not eating. I had a few cans of tuna with me for my consumption, knowing I was going to a vegetarian house. I opened one and gave it to the starving cat, she devoured the entire can in seconds and started following me around everywhere I went. So I continued this diet for the week I was there. Xena was back to her normal self and full of energy and playful. I won’t tell you the earful they heard from me when they came back. I told them that they were actively killing their beloved cat. Needless to say the shame and embarrassment on their faces, but the guilt stayed with them for the rest of 5 years that their happy meat eating cat lived thereafter.

Do you see where I am going with this?? As much as we like to be sophisticated humans, we are very much omnivorous mammals like Dogs. Which means we NEED meat and vegetables for survival.


Why is this so important to YOU especially with respect to Health and Cancer? Your immune system has these wonderful cells that are like soldiers on the battlefield. More like real hard core navy seals. They are there to find, fight, catch and destroy anything and everything that is trying to harm your body. So imagine you send these navy seals to war zone malnourished and hungry. How do you expect them to fight? We evolved as Omnivores so our bodies are designed by nature to function by utilizing natural bio-available proteins and carbs and fats. Nearly every process and function in your body is performed by some sort of protein (enzymes, hormones etc). How do you expect your body’s major machinery to function without its basic parts and fuel? It may partially function and really try to get by with the scarce resources you are providing for some time. After a while, it will fail. The outcome? You guessed it: Weakness, Illness, cancer.

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I am a research Scientist and a Health and wellness Coach. I cannot diagnose or treat a medical condition. However, I will make recommendations on what lab work/tests you may want to consider, and I will help you interpret your lab results and I will research and make appropriate recommendations based on my research and medical resources as well as Your Lab Works Modules and resources.

I will discuss the best options for nutrition and supplements based on the lab results. I will provide you with all the resources you need to help you to make the best and most educated decision about your health and well being.