Friday, February 18, 2011

Nutrition Guidelines Needed for Cancer Survivors

In today's Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, Ph.D., R.D., the Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses evidence supporting nutritional recommendations for cancer survivors, of which there are more than 12 million in the United States alone.

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight should be a high priority for survivors, including at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and limited consumption of red and processed meats as well as alcohol.

The impact of healthy eating and physical activity and its relation to cancer cannot be overemphasized. Evidence continues to mount that unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity and obesity are also related to the development of cancer. And with the publication today, we are even more cognizant of the role that this plays in survivorship.

As residents of the Deep South, we live in a section of the country where obesity is a significant problem, and we must all work together to begin to mitigate this epidemic.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ignite Your Inner Artist at ArtBLINK Gala!

On February 26, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center will celebrate the culmination of our annual fundraising drive at our annual ArtBLINK Gala. This is a fun and festive event hosted by our Advisory Board, and one that is truly unique in Birmingham.

ArtBLINK features 19 artists, all of whom have strong connections to the state of Alabama, who have just 90 minutes to each create a piece of art while guests watch. Some of our artists sculpt, while others paint, in both traditional and more abstract pieces. Guests can talk to the artists while they work, ask them questions and learn more about them and their art. When the 90 minutes is up, we auction off the art.

All of the money raised from ArtBLINK and the accompanying solicitation campaign goes to the Cancer Center's Fund for Excellence, which supports high-priority areas within the Cancer Center. That includes, but is certainly not limited to, scientific research, faculty recruitment and equipment upgrades. A portion of the money raised also goes toward our patient and family assistance program so that we may help those we serve get through their cancer journey the best way they can.

The goal for ArtBLINK Gala this year is $850,000. We are approaching that goal, but we're not there quite yet. I urge you to support your UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center by making a donation or attending the ArtBLINK Gala. You can do so at the links below.

With your help, we can achieve our goal of eliminating cancer as a major public health problem.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

Support the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center by making a donation!

Learn more about ArtBLINK Gala!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cancer Resolutions

Did you know that roughly 25 percent of people break their new year's resolutions within a week, and half of all resolutions are finished within six months? This is according to a study in the Los Angeles Times.

Obviously, the most popular resolutions involve improving diet and increasing exercise. And for good reason, as there's no question that doing those two things can help improve your overall health. However, many people don't realize that as many as 30 percent of all cancers are obesity-related. So diet and exercise can not only help you lose weight, but it can also lower your risk of developing cancer.

There are some other "cancer resolutions" that I encourage you to follow this year, and they have to do with screenings for early detection.

  • Get a mammogram. Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and continue to do so as long as they are in good health. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of a periodic, professional health exam at least every three years.
  • Get a colonoscopy. Both men and women, beginning at age 50, should have a colonoscopy once every 10 years, and perhaps more often if there is a history of colorectal cancer in their family.
  • Get a Pap smear. Specialists recommend that women have their first Pap smears at age 21 and every one to three years afterward, depending on the person's age and medical history. When abnormalities are found early and treated properly, very few progress to cervical cancer.
  • Determine if prostate screening is right for you. Beginning at age 50, men should have a discussion with their doctor or health care professional to see if they should be screened for prostate cancer and what type of test is right for them. For men at a higher risk of the disease, those conversations should begin at age 45.
  • Stop smoking and stay away from tobacco products! Smoking causes between 80 and 90 percent of all lung cancers, and tobacco is a major cause of many types of head and neck cancer.

These are just a few ways that you can improve your health and either decrease your chances of developing cancer or increasing the chances of it being caught early. I urge you to contact your doctor or health care professional, and keep these resolutions for 2011. Simply applying the knowledge that we already know can make a huge difference.

-Ed Partridge, M.D.