Bounty of the Mediterranean

Researchers have long noted that populations living along the Mediterranean Sea have lower risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. The lower risk may be linked to the regional diet — one high in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, fish and olive oil. To better understand the potential benefits of a Mediterranean diet, Zora Djuric, Ph.D., a research professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, has developed a study to examine the role of diet in preventing colon cancer. We talked with her to learn more about her research. Read the full Q&A in the latest issue of Thrive, the Cancer Center’s patient publication.

Men: Are you stubborn about your health?

Drive along I-94 or any other major interstate and you’re likely to encounter a bright, red billboard stating: “This year thousands of men will die from stubbornness.” According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the agency responsible for the billboards, men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. June is Men’s Health Awareness Month, so to help men get the information they need about preventive screening for cancer–a key part of any annual health regimen–the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center has put together an online guide.

Visit the guide to learn about current guidelines for prostate, colorectal, lung and skin cancer screenings as well as to link to more resources about men’s health.


WHO report links cell phones to cancer: Should you worry?

A branch of the World Health Organization, announced yesterday that it had added cell phones to a list of potential cancer-causing agents. The group, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, did not conduct any new research, but instead surveyed studies that had already examined the issue. So should you worry?

We talked with Larry Junck, M.D., a University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center neuro-oncologist. He said the worst danger posed by cell phones is driver distraction.

“There have been a number of scientific studies examining a possible relationship between cell phone use and brain tumors, and while none of them have been large enough to provide a final answer, it is reassuring that most of these studies have found no relationship,” Junck said.

Watch the video to learn more.

Have other questions? Would you like to discuss this? Post on our Discussion Board. Our Cancer AnswerLine nurses are available to address your concerns on mCancerTalk or at 1-800-865-1125.

Make your voice heard by joining Cancer Center’s Patient & Family Advisory Board

The University of Michigan ComprehensiveCancer Center is seeking people to serve on its new Cancer Patient & FamilyAdvisory Board and related committees. Leaders from the Cancer Center and the cancer inpatient units of University Hospital have joined with several U-M patients and family members to develop this new exciting initiative.

The board will be designed to give patients, families and other members of the community a stronger voice in programming and planning throughout the Cancer Centerand University Hospital. To learn more about the board and how to apply, visit


Taming the flame for Memorial Day weekend

Each year University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center dietitians field questions from patients about whether it’s safe to grill, given the evidence that grilled meats may contain cancer-causing agents. But new guidelines from the American Institute for Cancer Research suggest that the type of food you grill may be more important than how you prepare it.

Hot dogs and hamburgers — the all-American summer standards — may be among the worst culprits in causing colorectal cancer. Research has shown a convincing link between diets high in processed meat and red meat — which includes beef, pork and lamb. Every 3.5 ounces of processed meat — about two hot dogs — increases the risk for colorectal cancer by 42 percent.

Given the data, we recommend that our patients follow AICR guidelines. Limit the amount of red meat you eat. Think of it as an occasional indulgence. Make processed meats including hot dogs a treat for a special occasion — like an annual outing at the ballpark. Use these guidelines year round to lower your risk.

And this summer, continue to use caution when grilling. All animal meats produce cancer-causing chemicals when they are seared at high temperatures-whether on a grill or on a conventional stove. It’s still unclear whether eating these chemicals will increase your cancer risk. But while researchers continue to learn more about whether there’s a link between grilling and cancer, you can protect yourself and still enjoy a backyard barbecue. Read on to learn strategies to limit your exposure. Continue reading

Fight cancer-related fatigue with food and exercise

Up to 96% of people treated for cancer report fatigue. But how you eat, drink and spend your day can reduce your fatigue and may even boost your energy levels. University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center dietitians offer their tips for fighting fatigue in the latest issue of Thrive, the Cancer Center’s patient publication.

Among their tips:

  • Eat small, frequent meals and include a protein-rich food with each meal or snack.
  • Stock your pantry with extra staples to avoid frequent, energy draining grocery shopping trips.
  • Keep high-calorie, high-protein nutrition supplements on hand for easy nutrition on the run, such as Boost Plus, Ensure Plus, Carnation Instant Breakfast or nutrition bars.
  • Try batch cooking. Ask family or friends to double a favorite recipe or do so yourself on high-energy days. Freeze individual portions for quick, healthy meals.
  • Keep healthy foods on hand that require little preparation, including pre-packaged pudding and yogurt cups, peanut butter, tuna fish, cottage cheese, eggs, string cheese and soup. (Select cream-based soups for added calories and protein.)

Visit Thrive to read the full story and get more tips on living better with cancer. Or, to schedule an appointment with a Cancer Center dietitian, call 1-877-907-0859.