It’s been driving me crazy as a nutritionist, researcher, and cancer survivor (secondary to a drug my mother was given by her well-intentioned doctors when she was pregnant with me) that many cancer survivors are not told the truth.

I hear repeatedly by cancer patients that they were treated with surgery and or chemotherapy and then told the doctors got it all, and they could go on their merry way. They were sent back out into the world with the same physical “terrain” that supported a cancer growing in the first place. They are given a naïve and short-sighted clean bill of health, and often told that nutrition and food don’t play a role in their future safety.

Yet, there is so much we can do to reboot our body to stop being one that is hospitable to cancer growing and spreading.

Well, here is some breaking research from Gary Meadows, WSU professor and associate dean for graduate education in the College of Pharmacy. Meadows found whole foods and herbs, plant-based compounds, that turn on genes that slow the spread of cancer.

Cancer in itself doesn’t kill. It’s when it spreads to other parts of the body from the primary tumor that it then can be deadly. Appreciating this, Meadows started his research looking for how to slow the spread of cancer. Meadows identified genes that when they are in full gear, meaning they are “expressed” or what is called “turned on,” these genes signal the body to slow down cancer’s fatal growth throughout the body.

Meadows did an extensive literature review and documented metastasis suppressor genes and the compounds that turn them on—the compounds that help save lives. This elegant, user-friendly research shouts out HOPE and PROACTIVTY. It’s a huge reminder NOT to listen to those people, no matter how many degrees or how pristinely white their doctors jackets are, that claim that food has nothing to do with your future health, your immune function, and your potential ability to stay safe from cancer.

So what are these substances that you can eat and buy and take, hopefully under the guidance of an in-the-know practitioner, that help turn on these genes that protect cancer from spreading?

It’s based on what you eat—specific foods and herbs that turn on the good genes. This is food-based epigenetics in action. This is why nutrition is so powerful. What you put into your mouth is enormously influential. Nutrition is not just about eating more fiber, spinach leaves and apples. It’s about sophisticated priming of your genetic expression to help keep YOU healthier.

Meadows identified numerous studies in which the researchers linked the positive genetic effect with foods. Meadows found peer review substantiation of amino acids, vitamin D, ginseng extract, the tomato carotenoid lycopene, the turmeric component curcumin, pomegranate juice, fish oil, and others affecting gene expression in breast, colorectal, prostate, skin, lung, and other cancers. (Cancer and Metastasis Reviews 2012)

The environment of the body, the genetic expression in the body, is affected by what you eat or supplement. Do not let anyone say to you that “we got it all and there is nothing else you need to do.”


How you eat, what you do, how you exercise and supplement, these have epigenetic resonance for your future. If you have had cancer, your immune system must be your hobby for the rest of your life and you can, without stressing yourself out to the max, make sensible decisions to consume, most of the time, healthy foods and sensible nutraceuticals, the building blocks of healthy epigenetics. Finally!