24 Ways Top Doctors Prevent Cancer

Get the Right Screen

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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.


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