A meaty debate: Can red meat be part of a healthful diet?

Small amounts of red meat are fine, when part of a plant-based diet

Eat red meat sparingly, avoid processed meat.

The World Health Organization classifies processed meats as carcinogens and says red meat is probably a carcinogen. Our cancer nutritionists recommend eating only small amounts of red meat, and avoiding processed meats.


With all the focus on a plant-based diet for overall health and reduction of cancer risk, and recent media hype reporting red and processed meat cause cancer, meat lovers are left to wonder if their favorite foods are still allowed.

The WHO (World Health Organization’s) International Agency for Research on Cancer just released its analysis of the literature to date and concluded red meat and processed meat are likely carcinogenic, or cancer-causing foods. They cited a 17% – 18% increased risk of colorectal cancer with as little as two ounces of processed meat or four of ounces red meat per day. Continue reading

Yellow skin, yellow eyes: do I have liver cancer?

Primary liver cancer is rare, but early diagnosis is important

liver cancer

Yellowing of the skin and eyes, along with weight loss, itchy skin and feeling tired are some of the symptoms of liver cancer.


As scary as these symptoms might be, many of the signs and symptoms of liver cancer can also be caused by other conditions, including other liver problems or even a vitamin overdose. None-the-less, yellowing of the skin and eyes, along with weight loss, itchy skin and feeling tired are some of the symptoms of liver cancer. By the time these symptoms occur, the disease may have already spread. That’s why it is so important to see your doctor right away if you have these symptoms, so the cause can be found and treated. Continue reading

Eat like King Tut with ancient grains

Ancient grains are powerhouses of nutrition and can reduce your risk for cancer

Ancient Grains

Ancient grains are rich in nutrients that can reduce cancer risk, heart disease and diabetes risk, potentially adding longevity to one’s life.


For a few years now, the term “ancient grains” has been growing in popularity and you’ve probably noticed it in the name of many food products in grocery store aisles. Ancient grain refers to a grain that has been planted and harvested, without modification, for hundreds of years or more. These include kamut, amaranth, farro, and teff and they deserve all the attention. They are powerhouses of nutrition, specifically rich in phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber. These properties are all beneficial in reducing cancer risk, as well as heart disease and diabetes risk and potentially adding longevity to one’s life. Continue reading

An inconclusive genetic test result: what does it mean?

Questions you can ask to help understand

An inconclusive genetic test result is called a VUS, for genetic variant of unknown significance

Genetic test results are either positive, negative, or less commonly, VUS. This stands for genetic variant of unknown significance.

Most results of genetic testing for inherited susceptibility for cancer are either negative (meaning no gene mutation or change was found) or positive (meaning a gene mutation that causes an increased risk for cancer was found). However, a small portion of tests result in an inconcolusive genetic test result, or what is termed a variant of unknown or uncertain significance, or VUS.

A VUS is a change in the normal sequence of a gene, where the significance of the change is unclear until further study of a sufficiently large population. Complete gene sequencing often identifies many variants for a given gene. Continue reading

Dia De La Familia Latina this Sunday, October 4

A free, fun event for all ages

Dia De La Familia LatinaThis free Latino-focused family event takes place during National Hispanic Heritage Month and features entertainment, games, crafts, food and face painting! Health information addressing mental, physical, and social issues in the Latino community will be available. Dia De La Familia Latina is sponsored by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Ann Arbor District Library. Información del evento en español (PDF).
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The coconut craze: join or resist?

coconutIn the past few years, coconuts have taken on the status of “superfood.” Just search online and you will end up with a laundry list of diseases that can be treated with various coconut products. Coconut water is touted as a natural energy drink, better than any sports drink. Coconut milk has become a new favorite for people looking for a dairy replacement. And olive oil is being passed over for coconut oil in cooking. Should you join the coconut band wagon? Continue reading