Cancer Prevention Info and Interview 😊👏🌞✔
Hey, Friend! 😊🍁🙏
How are you doing today? I pray this finds you well... I wanted to write and let you know that this Friday I'll be interviewing my sweet friend Aurelie Cormier at 2pm Eastern Time on Zoom! Just like our mutual friend Maryellen from the Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation, Aurelie had many years of experience as an oncology nurse and she worked with people with many different types of cancer, administering their treatments and caring for them until the end of their lives. During her career, Aurelie began researching cancer prevention and became a board member of a cancer prevention project. Through this research Aurelie found her passion that motivates, excites and drives her every day - helping families adapt to lifestyles that maximize cancer prevention so they don't have to go through what her oncology patients went through. It's beautiful to hear her talk about her work because she is so excited and she cares so much about helping people maximize their health and their lives, and her work is so full of hope and joy!
With a significant amount of cancer being preventable, I'm becoming more and more passionate about focusing on prevention and at younger ages. In 2008, Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, who has his PhD in biochemistry and is a professor of medicine at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (the world's most renowned cancer research institution) published a paper in Pharmaceutical Research about the importance of environment and lifestyle. Dr. Aggarwal and the authors of the article state that genetic defects account for only 5-10% of all cancer cases, whereas 90-95% are caused by environmental and lifestyle factors.
Wow, that sounds pretty far-fetched, doesn't it? Well, research findings vary about the degree of impact of genetics versus external factors on cancer development, but what impresses me about these staggering numbers is the context in which we find them: a journal called Pharmaceutical Research, "An official journal of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, [which] presents papers which describe innovative research spanning the entire spectrum of drug discovery, development, evaluation, and regulatory approval." Does that sound like a journal that would be supportive of research showing that diet, lifestyle and environmental factors can either prevent or cause cancer? Ranking journals in order of openness to this sort of thing, I wouldn't rank them high. The journal has pharmaceutical representatives on its editorial board, so we can be pretty confident that the article went through rigorous scrutiny as the results could negatively impact sales of pharmaceutical drugs as people learn that they have significant control over their health and don't need to rely on just luck and drugs to keep them alive. (Yet, doctors still don't get nutrition and lifestyle education in medical school - just ask Dr. Anja Sonst, who I interviewed last week.)
Why else do I care about prevention? Part of the work I do is supporting young adults who have cancer or have had cancer. Since COVID came around I started regularly attending virtual young adult cancer meetups where I've found people there who are exactly where I was - teens and early twenty-somethings struggling with devastating cancer diagnoses. A little while ago there was a young man who joined us on Zoom who was in his hospital gown and bed recovering from surgery for stage 4 cancer that spread throughout his body. It still makes me cry thinking about him and his situation; he is a nice kid, home from college, isolated from friends with a grim outlook for the future, not knowing how many years (or months) he has left to live. I know exactly how sad that is and that's why it breaks my heart but motivates me to educate people on cancer prevention.
It's also why I'm so grateful that Aurelie is willing to do an interview with us to share her expertise in helping people avoid cancer and other diseases as early in life as possible - from pregnancy, to childhood, to adolescence and beyond. If you would like to ask Aurelie any questions, please feel free to email them to me at this address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be sure they get answered on Friday!!