Tag Archives: cancer

Eating to Prevent Cancer

By: Patricia Jett, M.D.

Can you prevent cancer by watching what you put in your mouth? Researchers are discovering that eating certain foods – and avoiding others – can reduce your risk of getting certain types of cancer.

‘Good’ and ‘bad’ foods

People who eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans tend to get less cancer. That may be because those foods are high in antioxidants — chemicals that fight the cell damage that leads to cancer. Besides fresh produce, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables have many of the same important nutrients. Be mindful of canned goods, as they may contain more salt.

On the other hand, if you eat a lot of fat, sugar and refined carbs (like white bread), you’re more likely to gain weight and become obese. Obesity is linked to several types of cancer, so it’s important to keep your weight low. Try to limit your carb intake to < 30 grams per serving.

Are you at a healthy weight? Check your Body Mass Index (BMI).

Some healthy eating tips:

  • Try to eat at least 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, and get a variety of types and colors. Be adventurous; try something new!
  • Choose whole-grain products, such as breads, pastas and brown rice, instead of those with refined grains. Quinoa anyone?
  • Avoid high-calorie processed foods and sugary beverages like soda, sweet tea, and juice-flavored drinks. Also watch those flavored waters – read your labels.
  • Reduce your intake of processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats and hot dogs.
  • Choose fish and poultry instead of red meat. If you eat red meat, choose lean cuts and smaller portions.
  • Try to drink at least 64 oz. of water a day.

Watch out for alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol is also linked to several types of cancer. All types — beer, wine, and spirits — seem to raise your chances. Limit yourself to one drink a day (1.5 oz. liquor, 5 oz wine, or 12 oz beer) if you’re a woman and two drinks a day if you’re a man.

Besides healthy eating, physical activity is important for reducing your cancer risk. Learn more from the American Cancer Society.


Dr. Patricia Jett is a Maryland Primary Care Physicians, LLC partner and practices in MPCP’s Annapolis office. She is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. She received her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed her residency program in Family Practice at Franklin Square Hospital Center.

Colorectal Cancer is Common But Can Be Prevented

A Q&A with Dr. Ariel Warden-Jarrett

Q: What is colorectal cancer?

A: Colorectal cancer, or colon cancer, occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. Most colon cancers develop first as polyps, which are abnormal growths that may later become cancerous.

Q: How common is colorectal cancer?

A: It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S. and is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. It is expected to cause about 49,700 deaths this year.

Q: Who is at risk for colorectal cancer?

A: People of different ages, genders and races can get colorectal cancer. However, the Mayo Clinic lists several factors that may put you at higher risk:

  • Age: Most people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are older than 50.
  • Race: African-Americans have a greater risk than people of other races.
  • Family history: You’re more likely to develop the cancer if you have a parent, sibling or child with the disease.
  • Diet: People who eat diets low in fiber and high in fat and calories are at increased risk for colorectal cancer.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: If you’re inactive and don’t exercise, you’re more likely to develop the cancer.
  • Obesity: People who are obese are at increased risk. They are also more likely to die of the cancer.
  • Bad habits: People who smoke cigarettes or drink heavily may increase their risk.

Q: What can I do to help prevent colorectal cancer?

A: Since lifestyle is linked to colorectal cancer, improving your diet and getting more exercise can help reduce your risk. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit your intake of red meat and alcohol. And since obesity may increase your risk, it’s important to eat a diet that allows you to achieve a healthy body weight. Also, studies suggest that regular physical activity reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.

The good news is, when colorectal cancer is discovered early, it is highly treatable. The best way to do that is with a colonoscopy, a simple screening procedure that examines the inside of the colon and rectum, and removes polyps which may become cancerous. It is recommended you have a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 – at 45 for African-Americans ─ or every five years if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. Learn more about colonoscopies here.
If you’re under 50, make lifestyle changes now to reduce your risk. If you’re 50 or older, ask your doctor how to arrange a colonoscopy or any questions you have about colorectal cancer.


Ariel Warden-Jarrett, M.D.Dr. Ariel Warden-Jarrett is an MPCP partner and sees patients in the Bowie office. She received her medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and completed her residency program in Family Medicine at Howard University Hospital. She is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.