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Top Cancer Fighting Foods

Written by Jane Donald on January 9th, 2014. Posted in General, magazine article


What is a Cancer Fighting Food?

Recent anti-cancer research has identified specific foods and food elements that can offer protection against cancer. Here’s a list of cancer fighting foods.


Kale is a vegetable with green or purple leaves that is extremely nutrient-dense and carries glucosinolates that provide cancer preventive benefits. Research has shown that kale can help prevent against cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.


Cabbage is another leafy vegetable. It’s also packed full of cancer fighting phytochemicals called glucosinolates. Glucosinolates help the body get rid of carcinogens, which are known to cause cancer.

Collard greens

Collard greens are part of the cabbage and broccoli family and are known for their thick, slightly bitter leaves. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have recently discovered that collard greens contain nutrients that help fight viruses, bacteria and cancer.


Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, is known to be packed full of nutrients such as folate, potassium, dietary fiber and magnesium. Similar to cabbage, research has also discovered the presence of cancer-fighting phytochemicals called glucosinolates.


The onion, a round vegetable with an edible bulb, is known for its pungent taste and smell. However, research has found that onions contain chemicals that have potential anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties.


Garlic, a vegetable related to the onion, is a bulb shaped plant that is used for flavoring in cooking. Preliminary research has shown that garlic may reduce the risk of developing cancer, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.


Blueberries are a fruit that are high in dietary fiber and vitamin C. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and urolithins that can help fight against cancer.


Spinach leaves are known to contain large amounts of vitamin C, vitamins and minerals. However, a new research study has discovered that spinach can help protect against aggressive prostate cancer.


Beans are full of folate and dietary fiber, which can have numerous health benefits including lowering cancer risk and helping with weight control.


Flaxseed is a fiber crop that is grown in cooler parts of the world. Along with being high in dietary fiber, researchers have also identified alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat. Dietary fiber is known to help reduce the risk of cancer while the presence of ALA increases anti-inflammatory properties.


Tomatoes are red because of a phytochemical called lycopene. There is research that suggests foods containing lycopene could protect against forms of cancer, including prostate cancer.


Walnuts are packed full of nutrients including high amounts of polyphenols, which can have antioxidant properties. Walnuts also contain alpha-linolenic acid and ellagic acid which research has shown, can help with the prevention of cancer.

Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world but you may be surprised to find out that it is packed full of polyphenol compounds. These polyphenol compounds are antioxidants and may help with cancer prevention.


Ginger is a plant native to Asia that has been used as an herbal remedy for upset stomach, motion sickness, loss of appetite and as a spice for cooking. Research suggests that ginger may also be an aid in cancer prevention.


Winter squash are vegetables that contain certain carotenoids, dietary fiber and vitamin C. Research has shown that the presence of these chemicals in food can help with preventing cancer.


Cherries contain multiple phytochemicals and nutrients including dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer, and consuming high amounts of dietary fiber may help people control their weight.


One of the world’s most consumed beverages, coffee, also contains many different phytochemicals which can have antioxidant properties. According to many studies, coffee is known to help with the prevention of certain types of cancer.

8 Ways to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

Written by Jane Donald on January 8th, 2014. Posted in magazine article

Experts estimate that about one in eight women born in the U.S. today will be diagnosed with breast cancer. You may already know someone who is battling it. “Much of what causes breast cancer is not something that a woman has control over,” says Dr. George Sledge, professor of medicine and chief of the division of oncology at Stanford. That’s a scary thing to hear about a disease that kills nearly 40,000 U.S. women a year.

But there’s hope: Some of what causes breast cancer can be controlled — they’re what doctors call “modifiable” risk factors. By making a few positive changes now, you can lower the chance that you’ll get a diagnosis. “I’m not going to say all of them are super easy, but I think they’re doable,” says Dr. Therese Bevers, professor of clinical cancer prevention and medical director of the cancer prevention center at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. “And if need be, your physician can help you with resources to do them successfully.”

1. Keep your BMI in a healthy range.
Fat cells make estrogen. The more fat you carry, the higher your estrogen levels. And the higher your estrogen levels, the higher your risk, especially in women who gain extra weight post-menopause. Of course, losing weight is easier said than done. But it’s worth it, especially over a lifetime. “It’s this long exposure to moderately high estrogen levels that’s bad for you,” says Virginia Kaklamani, co-director of the cancer genetics program and director of translational breast cancer research at Northwestern University. So keep tabs on your body-mass index and make sure it stays bellow 25.

2. Stay active.

Research shows that women who exercise regularly have a 25 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to the most inactive women. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults do moderate-intensity exercise at least 150 minutes a week — that’s just three gym classes. But you don’t need to go nuts to make a positive impact: Simple activities like walking count. Researchers looked at 73,615 post-menopausal women and found that those who simply put one foot in front of the other seven hours per week — about an hour a day — had a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to their inactive peers.

More good news? You don’t have to be slim to benefit from working out. “Even overweight women who exercise routinely are at lower risk of developing breast cancer,” says Bevers. “[But] clearly her risk may be even lower if she, through exercise, were able to attain a healthy body weight.”

3. Drink less alcohol.
The more booze you consume, the more you increase your risk. Researchers don’t yet know why alcohol increases risk, but they do know “it’s related to how many drinks you have,” says Sledge. According to Kaklamani, “The mechanism is not clear, but usually women who drink have higher estrogen levels.” Alcohol increases cholesterol, which gets converted into estrogen. Limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day.

4. Breastfeed if you have children.
It’s good for your baby — and your breast health. “The more months you breastfeed, the lower your likelihood of developing breast cancer,” says Sledge. Why? “Starting periods later, ending periods sooner, and having fewer periods because you’ve been breastfeeding or exercising a lot all reduce your risk,” he says. It boils down to decreased exposure to estrogen.

Giving birth to your first child at a younger age also decreases the likelihood of developing breast cancer, though no one knows why. “One thought is with the first pregnancy, the breast undergoes an irreversible change that makes it less sensitive to carcinogens,” says Sledge. “It might be related to the milk-producing hormone prolactin.”

5. Keep hormone therapy short.
The Women’s Health Initiative study showed that a combination of estrogen and progesterone increased the risk of breast cancer. If you and your doctor feel you need hormone-replacement therapy because of menopausal symptoms, take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. If you’re on birth control, keep in mind that taking the pill slightly increases your risk — but it seems to go back to normal over time once you stop taking the pill, according to The American Cancer Society.

6. Get regular mammograms.
While mammograms don’t prevent cancer, they make a cure more possible. “You’re detecting it at a stage where it’s more likely to be curable,” says Kaklamani. Breast cancer is curable in 90 percent of stage one cases, 80 percent of stage two cases, and 60 percent of stage three cases, she says.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women receive the low-dose x-ray procedure annually beginning at age 40. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is concerned about false positives for women in their 40s who have denser breast tissue, recommends getting them every other year beginning at age 50. Which rule should you follow? “We’re approaching an area where we try to individualize,” says Sledge. “Not all women should get the same diagnostic techniques.” Work with your doctor to find a screening schedule that’s right for your particular factors.

7. Research your family history.
Check if any family members have a history of breast and ovarian cancer — and, remember, even men can get breast cancer. If you’re related to a carrier of an inherited mutation (known as BRCA1 and BRCA2), make sure to get tested. And tell your doctor if you’ve had any radiation exposure to the chest at a young age — another risk factor.

8. Make your doctor your ally.
Check the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, which looks at variables such as age, time of first menstrual cycle and birth of a first child, history of first-degree relatives, and race. (For unknown reasons, white women are more likely to develop breast cancer after menopause and black women before menopause.) Then talk to your doctor to interpret the test. She may suggest specific tests and a more aggressive screening schedule. The most important thing is that you work together — and that you do what you can to reduce your modifiable risk factors. “Maintain a healthy body weight, be as active as you can be, and, if you drink alcohol, don’t have more than a drink a day,” says Alpa Patel, PhD., a strategic research director at The American Cancer Society.

How to Conquer Every Kind of Stress

Written by Jane Donald on January 6th, 2014. Posted in magazine article


You know the feeling — tense muscles, a knot in your stomach, maybe a headache. No matter how hard you try, being calm and collected isn’t in the cards. Stress happens to all of us, and a recent American Psychological Association poll revealed that we’re feeling it more now than ever. Women in particular seem to be bearing the brunt: More than 80 percent reported having prolonged stress about money and the economy, and 70 percent say they’re worried about health problems affecting them and their families.

“Women have more on their plates when it comes to the work-life balance, which takes considerable emotional resources,” says Alice Domar, PhD, executive director of The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health and coauthor of Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won’t Break Your Health. The comforting news is that stress isn’t always bad. “If you know how to manage it, stress can give you the extra energy you need to succeed and get through difficult situations,” explains Jay Winner, MD, director of the Sansum Clinic Stress Reduction Program in Santa Barbara, California, and author of Take the Stress out of Your Life. There’s even a term for this good kind: eustress. “I tell my patients to think of eustress just like it sounds: ‘use stress,’” says Dr. Winner. “When you’re in a situation that’s making you produce all that high-octane adrenaline, how can you put it to productive use?” For example, think about how the stress of nearing a project deadline might push you to focus more intensely and come up with creative ideas. Or how entering a competition motivates you to do your very best in an attempt to win.

The key distinction: Good stress feels exciting and energizing; the bad type feels scary and paralyzing. Unfortunately, you can’t always control when and if you get stressed, but you can learn to cope so that you minimize its negative impact and, whenever possible, make it productive. To help you do just that, we’ve put together this playbook for how to handle just about any kind of tension — be it an in-the-moment crisis or a chronic worry. So take a deep breath and get ready to feel better.

You’re already late trying to get your family out the door when your husband starts freaking out about a lost set of papers, your kids start whining, food gets spilled and the dog starts barking. Oh, and did we mention it’s all happening as your mother calls to say she’s planning to visit — and wants to stay with you — for two weeks?

What’s going on:
Your body’s stress response — called fight-or-flight — kicks into gear. It dates back to prehistoric days, when a quick pick-upand- run reaction meant the difference between life and death. Once you’re exposed to a stressor, your body releases a surge of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol, which divert blood flow toward your muscles, heart and brain and away from other areas. That enables you to hightail it away from danger as quickly as possible. Depending on how much adrenaline you’re producing, your heart rate may increase and you may start sweating.

What you can do:
Breathe. A common gut reaction is to jump in and try to fix the situation ASAP. But this will just exacerbate that harried, out-of-control feeling. Instead, take three deep breaths — 5 seconds in, 5 seconds out — to slow your heart rate and reduce the pace at which stress hormones are flying through your system, says Sonali Sharma, MD, a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. While focusing on your breath, remind yourself that the anxiety you’re feeling is a chemical response, or just visualize the phrase “I’m strong and I’m capable,” suggests Dr. Sharma.

Lighten up. If you can take a step back and laugh at yourself and the situation, great. If not, try to think about something else that’s funny. Like deep breathing, laughter helps scale back your physical and psychological reactions to stress, which gives you more mental resources to devote to the actual problem, says Dr. Winner. (As soon as you stop fixating on what an idiot you are for misplacing your checkbook, you’ve got a lot more energy to focus on finding it.) A study by The American Journal of the Medical Sciences found that just anticipating laughter can reduce the presence of stress hormones by nearly half.

Put it in perspective. Say you’re late for school drop-off, which means you’ll be late to work and possibly just about every other deadline that day. It may seem like the end of the world, but try to think about the situation in the context of the rest of your life: Focus on how great it is to have a job and a loving family — even if they’re getting on your last nerve at that moment. You can also focus on a mental picture of a loved one, a goal or a favorite place. If the problem is an interpersonal one — say your boss is driving you crazy — try to think about the other person’s big picture, too. If your boss is going through a divorce, that may explain why she’s been hypercritical lately. Empathy helps defuse tension.

Take steps to solve the problem. “The ebb and flow of worry can affect your focus, so if possible, make a written, step-by-step outline of what to do to deal with the situation,” says Jonathan Abramowitz, PhD, director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Then tackle things in bite-size pieces; productivity combats stress.

Get with the stress rhythm. If immediate action isn’t possible — say you’re waiting for a test result or answer — you may need to settle into it. In this case, Dr. Abramowitz suggests calming yourself by looking for a pattern in your heartbeat, or imagining the butterflies in your stomach actually flying in formation. The deep breathing recommended by Dr. Sharma can also help here, as can defaulting to a few simple soothing habits: A 2009 study found that chewing gum markedly reduced stress hormones and promoted feelings of calm, while another study found that drinking hot black tea seemed to double the rate at which people were able to calm down after a tense situation.

Find Your Happy Place

Written by Jane Donald on January 2nd, 2014. Posted in General




Here are some simple ideas, grouped by category, to try to find your happy place that are super easy to do.


• Add a fun thing to your calendar, such as trying a new recipe.

• Better, add a fun thing to your calendar that involves other people. For instance, I have a friend who loves visiting perfume shops as much as I do, and every once in a while we plan a perfume-shop outing.

• Best, add a fun thing to your calendar that involves other people and has you doing something outdoors. Studies show that just being outside in the sunshine helps boost your sense of focus and good cheer.


• Think of a subject that you wish you knew more about (be honest — something that really interests you) and spend 15 minutes on the Internet reading about it.

• Take a step toward acquiring a new skill you’d like to have — research Italian classes in your neighborhood, investigate a Photoshop class you can take online.

• If you can’t think of one single subject that interests you, visit two bookstores (one huge chain, one independent store) and browse until some book catches your attention. Then buy and read the book.


• Sign up to be an organ donor (and don’t forget to tell your family that you’ve chosen to do so).

• Write a check — even a small one — for a good cause.

• Sign up to volunteer for or participate in an organization that furthers a cause you value.


• Walk around the block.

• Do 10 jumping jacks.

• Go to the gym or out for a run.


• Clear out the space around your computer.

• Clean out a closet.

• Walk through your house with a garbage bag and clear clutter until the bag is full of trash. Then walk around again and fill a new bag with things to be given away. Repeat.


• Reach out to a family member you’ve been neglecting.

• Make something right: Apologize, confess, repair, replace — or return something you borrowed.


• Throw away someone else’s litter.

• Be helpful to an elderly person or a person with small kids.

• Be friendly to a store clerk who seems grouchy.

To feel happier quickly, it helps to remember that you have to “burn energy to create energy.” When I’m at my most sluggish, apathetic, and gloomy, I can often kick myself into gear by burning some energy: running up the stairs, singing out loud, doing a whirlwind tidy-up of our apartment, or crossing some nagging task off my list. Counterintuitively, perhaps, these exertions don’t drain me even more. Instead, they furnish a much-needed surge of energy.

By pushing yourself to burn a little energy by tackling a task, you’ll give yourself a shot of energy and cheer. If you can’t face a big task, just do something small. Even a little step in the right direction will give you a lift.

I love this quote by Dag Hammarskjold, from his book Markings: “Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. It will neither give you back the past, nor satisfy your other daydreams. Your duty, your reward — your destiny — are here and now.”

Happy New Year

Written by Jane Donald on January 1st, 2014. Posted in inspirational

2014-New-Year-Wallpaper & Quotes

What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient

Written by Jane Donald on December 29th, 2013. Posted in General



When dealing with a cancer patient, these words can feel dismissive, insensitive, or even hurtful:

• “You’ll be fine, I’m sure”

• “My sister had symptoms just like that, but she was lucky it wasn’t cancer”

• “Everything happens for a reason”

• “When was your last mammogram (Pap smear, colonoscopy…)?”

• “Are you sure your doctor knows what she’s doing?”

• “Don’t get depressed. You have to stay positive to heal”

• “I found this treatment on the Internet that you should try”

Wising Up About Sun Safety After Skin Cancer

Written by Jane Donald on December 26th, 2013. Posted in magazine article

By Jennifer Zindler,

Five years ago, shortly after I turned 40, I developed a strange bump on my lower lip. It got worse, then seemed to improve, then got bad again. I was busy with my finance job and with my daughter, Lexi, who was 4 at the time, so it took me six months to have it looked at. Although my dermatologist said it wasn’t a cold sore and even speculated that the growth might be precancerous, she didn’t want to biopsy it because cutting into my lip could leave me with an ugly scar. So we agreed she would freeze off the sore, which would cause the least damage. It healed nicely.

Two years later, however, it was back. Really worried, I went to a new, top-ranked dermatologist, also pointing out a rough red spot near my nose and a flaky patch on my cheek. He did a skillful job on the biopsies and they didn’t look bad after healing, but he called a week later to say that all three were cancerous: basal cell carcinoma for the lip and the rough red bump, an early squamous cell carcinoma for the flaky patch.

The best treatment for facial skin cancer is Mohs surgery, which has the highest cure rate and leaves the least scarring. The doctor removes the visible tumor and a thin bit of surrounding skin, then checks the sample microscopically for cancer cells. If any are found in the surrounding tissue, another layer of skin is removed, and so on, until no more cancer cells can be detected.

My first surgery was for the rough red bump; I was called back only once. After that healed, I had the second surgery, on the flaky patch, and I was called back twice. I was then feeling more confident about my lip. Sitting in a waiting room full of patients, I was the first to be called; hours later, I was the only one still there. I had to go in four times, and after the last one, I started crying, not sure how much of my lip was left.

I went straight from the Mohs specialist to a surgeon my dermatologist had recommended to reconstruct my lip. We had met previously and discussed some options, but that afternoon he just asked how many times I had been called back. I said four, and next thing I knew, I was under anesthesia. Later, as I was leaving, he said, “If it doesn’t match, I’ll fix it.”

I had no idea what he meant, but when I got home, I realized I had a bandage on my chest as well as one on my face. The doctor had taken skin from my chest and grafted it onto my lip, an option we’d never discussed. Even after healing, my lip was grotesque—a thick lump with pale, freckled flesh sewn onto it. I looked like a patchwork quilt.

I covered it with a bandage for three months. Finally, a plastic surgeon trimmed the graft down and then, in a second surgery, basically created a new bottom lip by rolling skin from the inside out. Now I have a smile that’s back to maybe 90% of what it once was.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the dermatologist with another red rough spot, and he told me that even if I never get any more sun exposure, I’ll be dealing with the damage that’s already been done for a very long time. But at least I can avoid adding to the problem—now, finally, I’m really careful about sun protection. On ordinary mornings when I’m going to work, I slather an SPF 30 moisturizer, topped with an SPF 25 powder, on my face, neck, and chest. I use SPF 50 or 75 at my daughter’s soccer games, and I also wear a visor. At the beach, I wear shorts and a top, sit under an umbrella, and set my iPhone to remind me to reapply sunblock every 90 minutes.

Want to stay protected from the sun? Here’s the latest news about sunscreen.

Important New Sunscreen Information

The FDA has finally issued new rules for sunscreen labels, banning unclear or misleading claims. The new terms have specific definitions.

– “Broad Spectrum” means the product protects you against both UVA and UVB rays. Both are linked to cancer, and UVA also causes wrinkles.

– “Water Resistant” now indicates when swimmers should reapply (after 40 minutes for lighter formulas, 80 minutes for more enduring ones).

– To find reliable products, look for sunscreens that have the Seal of Recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Merry Christmas

Written by Jane Donald on December 26th, 2013. Posted in inspirational


Wonders of Christmas

Written by Jane Donald on December 22nd, 2013. Posted in inspirational


Lessons In Life

Written by Jane Donald on December 17th, 2013. Posted in inspirational