The Top 10 Ways to Prevent Cancer

Lise Alschuler, N.D. and Karolyn Gazella, the co-authors of The Definitive Guide to Cancer, tell us the top 10 ways you can prevent cancer.

Lise Alschuler, N.D. and Karolyn A. Gazella’s book, Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing, is a comprehensive and detailed explanation of each form of cancer. Although the book is not written with only lesbians in mind, out-lesbians Alschuler and Gazella were willing to discuss the issues surrounding cancer that specifically affect lesbian women.

Advocating Alschuler and Gazella for an integrative approach to cancer, Gazella says their approach, “takes the best from both worlds: the best of conventional medicine and the best of complementary medicine, combining them for the most effective treatment approach possible. Patients and practitioners should not have to choose. Our approach is very patient centered. Everyone should be doing what’s best for the patient.” This means making sure the patient has open communication with the doctor, and the doctor listens and understands her completely.”

Alschuler and Gazella provide insight on the impact cancer has on lesbians. Alschuler said that although these are broad generalizations, there is evidence of a higher rate of breast cancer in lesbians than in heterosexual women, due, according to them, lower estrogen levels. Alschuler also points out that there is a higher instance of obesity and physical inactivity in lesbians. The rate of alcohol consumption and smoking are high in the lesbian community as well. A recent study, however, shows that the dietary habits of lesbians are changing and moving in a healthier direction.

Lesbians are not only prone to breast, ovarian, and cervical cancer because of their lifestyles, but may also face difficulty navigating the medical world upon diagnosis. “Patients need to disclose their desire to have an integrative approach. They also need to disclose that they’re taking supplements or are doing acupuncture or getting massage or whatever, they need to disclose that to their doctor,” says Gazella. “Patients need to get over the fear of being able to be open and honest with their practitioner. Doctors need to be more open-minded in terms of accepting something that might be different than their conventional training.”

Gazella and Alschuler managed to co-write a giant tome that holds up to the scrutiny of health care professionals.

Up to 90 percent of all cancer is preventable. Listed below are the top 10 ways you can reduce your cancer risk.

1. Go to the gyno. Make sure to get checkups and Pap smears regularly.
2. Practice safe sex. High-risk behavior could hurt you. Make sure to get regular screenings and watch where she puts her you-know-what.
3. After age 40, get mammograms. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, you are 5 to 10 percent more likely to get it, so go earlier.
4. Drink less. Limit yourself to one, if you’re going to drink, and you’ll thank yourself later.
5. Exercise 30 minutes a day. You should excercise just to feel strong and healthy, and to increase your energy. But it also helps prevent cancer, as well as other illnesses we women face, such as heart disease.
6. Eat your vegetables (and fruits), young lady. Five servings a day is a must. Eating fruits and veggies rich in color is almost a guarantee that you’ll get more antioxidants in your meal.
7. Go organic. Sure, it’s trendy, but there’s a reason it’s so hot. There’s a direct link among commercial farming, chemical use and cancer. Educate yourself and be empowered by paying attention to what you put in your body.
8. Drink green tea. This potent cancer cell stopper will wake you up with a healthy start and keep you charged through the day. Green tea contains antioxidants; fights infection, headaches and heart disease; and increases immunity. Bonus: It will help you burn calories and prevent tooth decay too.
9. Catch some Zs. Rest is one of your needs. Don’t sacrifice time to relax just because you’ve overloaded your plate. The world will still turn, even if you take a few minutes—maybe even an hour—to meditate or sleep. What a concept!
10. Take care of yourself. Girl, we know you’re busy, but it’s extremely important to take care of your whole self. Putting yourself first is not selfish, especially when you’re running low on steam and your body feels it.