Gardening for Survivorship

As a new dietetic intern at AICR, I enjoyed many thought-provoking presentations at last week’s annual AICR Research Conference. However, just as interesting were conversations we had over lunch and between sessions.

One conversation I particularly appreciated was with author and registered dietitian (RD), Diana Dyer. She is a three-time cancer survivor who changed her own diet and lifestyle for recovery and to help prevent recurrence, as told in A Dietitian’s Cancer Story. Her story has been helpful and inspirational to many cancer survivors.

Now, Diana is an organic garlic farmer in Michigan and as an RD, she shares her nutritional expertise and love of farming with dietetic interns who spend some time with her – and get their hands a little dirty – to learn about growing food.

Why garden? Many cancer survivors find gardening therapeutic, and an important part of the cancer healing process. The physical activity recommendation from the 2007 AICR expert report is to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Physical activity doesn’t have to be running or lifting weights. Gardening is a great way to be active while doing something you enjoy – that way you’ll be more likely to keep doing it.

There are other reasons to garden too:

  • Know where your food comes from – the interns on Diana’s farm learn what it takes to grow food.
  • Nutritional benefits – freshly harvested (cancer-fighting) foods are generally at peak nutrient levels.
  • Improve the earth – you can compost foods scraps and leaves and then use the resulting humus for healthier soil.
  • It’s a great hobby to re-introduce exercise for those recovering from cancer treatment, and…
  • it’s a lot of fun!

Check out our video on container gardening if you’d like to try your hand at growing food.

Does your local cancer center have a vegetable garden?


AICR Research Conference Making Headlines

We’ve had a busy last few days, as news from our press event coinciding with AICR’s Annual Research Conference got some high-profile coverage.

CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen did a great in-depth piece about the new findings on activity, sedentary behavior and cancer.  Watch the story here.

The NBC Nightly News didn’t mention AICR by name, but they did interview Dr. Christine Friedenreich (Note: That’s CHRISTINE Friedenreich, not “Susan,” NBC caption-makers.)  Watch the NBC coverage.

Really nice Canadian piece on CTV.

Here’s the USA TODAY article.

ABC News

CBS News

The Washington Post

WebMD

Scientific American

Got some interesting blog coverage, too:

Gawker

Gizmodo

Technorati

AICR’s Alice Bender, MS, RD was interviewed on DC’s local FOX affiliate.

The story’s been picked up by over a hundred other news and print outlets in the last few days, and is still going strong.

Have you seen the story popping up in any strange/surprising places? Let us know in the comments.

 


From the AICR Research Conference: Dr. JoEllen Welsh on Vitamin D and Breast Cancer

Dr. Welsh chaired our 2010 research conference and its plenary session on aging, diet, physical activity and cancer, but she also presented on her own research involving vitamin D and breast cancer.

Dr. Welsh reviews her presentation, and shares some of the implications of her cutting-edge, AICR-supported research.

Here’s a handy glossary to some of the terms she uses with which you might be unfamiliar:

“…knockout of the vdr…”:  Here, she’s talking about working w/an organism whose breast cells don’t respond to the presence of vitamin D, and tracking how this affects the way its breast tissue responds.  Her work suggests that vitamin D plays an important role in governing the breast’s immune response.

“…cytokines...”:  These are the cellular message-carriers of our immune system — they help our bodies defend against infections by passing along information and regulating our immune response.

“…the neonate…”:  The newborn.