What Is the Link Between Diet and Melanoma?

By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD When it comes to sun safety, lathering on sunscreen, sporting broad-brimmed hats and staying in the shade surely come to mind. But diet may also play a key role in the prevention of skin cancer and melanoma. Here is some information on the emerging research around obesity, antioxidant intake, vitamin D and other potential nutrition-related links to melanoma. Obesity & Melanoma At any age, maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important strategies for cancer prevention, including melanoma. While there have not been many in-depth studies on the topic, obesity is emerging as …

Continue reading

Super Bowl Champion Joe Andruzzi Shares His Cancer Experience

Joe Andruzzi

With six surgeries, multiple injuries, and many knee problems by the time he was 31 years old, three-time Super Bowl champion Joe Andruzzi was no stranger to doctors. But when the former New England Patriots player started experiencing stomach pains in May 2007, everything quickly changed. He and his wife, Jen, recently shared their experience at Dana-Farber’s 12th annual Young Adult Cancer Conference. Everything was put on hold. Joe: I had just finished my tenth year in the NFL, and was ready to train and show people I still had something in the tank, because you get old really fast …

Continue reading

Melanoma – What’s the Latest?

PF_Jennifer Lin166from BWH

Sun safety applies to everyone, regardless of skin color, gender, or age. That was the message emphasized in a recent live video webchat with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) dermatologist Jennifer Lin, MD. During the chat, Lin answered questions about the latest in melanoma treatment and prevention. “The bottom line is that UV radiation causes mutations in our genes, which can lead to cancer,” says Lin, who works in DF/BWCC’s Melanoma Treatment Center. “We have to live with the sun, so it’s important that we learn to limit exposure and minimize a lifetime risk of accumulating genetic mutations. ” …

Continue reading

Does Elevation Increase Risk for Skin Cancer?

Copyright Sam Ogden Photography

One of the most common questions asked about skin cancer risk, particularly by those who ski or hike, is whether altitude can increase the chance of developing skin cancer, specifically melanoma. We spoke with Jennifer Lin, MD, a dermatologist in Dana-Farber’s Melanoma Treatment Center, to learn more. Elevation does affect the risk of skin cancer because the higher the elevation, the more sunlight – including ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer – reaches the ground, Lin says. Technically, the higher you are, the closer you are to the sun, with fewer protective layers of atmosphere above you. Colorado, for …

Continue reading

Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

Does sugar feed cancer?

By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD One of the most common questions we hear from our patients is, “does sugar feed cancer?”  As with most nutrition research, the answer to this seemingly simple question is actually quite complex. Overall, most of the research in sugar and cancer uses data from preliminary studies with animal and test tube data to draw conclusions. Recent research has looked at the details of an individual’s diet and sugar intake and how it may affect cancer risk or survivorship outcomes, but there have not been any randomized, controlled trials showing that sugar causes cancer. Let’s look …

Continue reading

Screening Tips for Finding Skin Cancer Early

skin cancer screening

As we peel off winter clothing and head for the beach, it’s a perfect time to learn about the benefits of screening exams for melanoma and other skin cancers. Preventing these cancers with sun safety awareness is important – but so is detecting skin lesions in their earliest, most treatable stage. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is now the fifth most common cancer in men and the seventh most common in women in the United States. About 42,670 melanoma cases in men and 31,200 in women are projected for 2015, with 9,940 deaths. It’s also the only preventable …

Continue reading

ABC’s Dan Harris Shares His Journey to Mindfulness

ABC's Dan Harris

Mindfulness meditation is a simple, effective technique for relieving stress and focusing on the present, whether you’re a current cancer patient, a longtime survivor, or even “a fidgety news man.” This was the message delivered by Dan Harris, correspondent and co-anchor for ABC’s “Nightline” and “Good Morning America Weekend,” during the keynote speech at the 13th annual Lenny Lecture sponsored by Dana-Farber’s Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Adult Survivorship Program, and Perini Family Survivors’ Center. His talk centered on the powerful story of how he used 5-10 minutes of daily meditation to reduce the anxiety he felt in …

Continue reading

Should Cancer Patients Avoid Fish Oil?

PF_Salmon Dinner

When starting cancer treatment, patients often have many questions about diet and which foods may help, or hinder, their recovery. A recent study published in JAMA Oncology showed the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements reduced the effectiveness of chemotherapy in mice with cancer. We spoke with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center Nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, to learn more:   Should cancer patients avoid fish oil or certain kinds of fish during treatment? It’s important for patients to speak with their doctor and dietician about fish oil or any other supplement, and whether these supplements can affect …

Continue reading

What Is a Cancer Vaccine?

GettyImages-103919215

Cancer vaccines are medicines that spur the immune system’s natural defenses against cancer. They belong to a class of substances known as biological response modifiers, which strengthen or stimulate a basic bodily process – in this case, the immune system’s ability to detect and attack cancer cells. There are two broad types of cancer vaccines: Preventive vaccines, which are intended to prevent cancer from developing, and therapeutic vaccines, which treat an existing cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two preventive vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, for the prevention of cervical cancer. These work by the same general principle as …

Continue reading

The Best Foods and Diet for Cancer Treatment and Survivorship

SMALL_KRR_IMG_0575_15

Regardless of diagnosis, nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment. Foods and diet can help maintain overall health, control side effects, and sometimes prevent future medical problems. “Good nutrition plays a key role in cancer prevention as well as survivorship,” says Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, a nutritionist with Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. “We don’t have to strive for perfection in our diets, but making small changes to what we eat can make a big difference.” Read more: Foods that Help Ease Cancer-Related Nausea Debunking Common Nutrition Myths Kennedy recently addressed some important questions about cancer and nutrition …

Continue reading