As reported by the New Britain Herald, November 21, 2004.

Doctors Argue that Cancer Is Preventable

By Scott Whipple

FARMINGTON -- Cancer scares many of us. Between age 45 and 65, it kills more people than anything else in America.

Though it usually develops over the years, cancer often attacks us without warning. Even after it’s diagnosed, the treatment can be agonizing and there’s little assurance it won’t return.

Dr. Carolyn Runowicz has experienced breast cancer and lived to write about it. The director of the University of Connecticut Cancer Center in Farmington, Runowicz and her husband (and co-author), Sheldon H. Cherry, M.D., offer a hopeful, science-based approach in their new book, "The Answer to Cancer" (Rodale Books, 290 pages, $24.95).

Cherry, a prominent New York City gynecologist, is a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

Runowicz says their book was written to help men and women lower their risk and fight back against this widespread disease.

The answer, they argue, is prevention.

A nationally recognized expert in gynecologic oncology and director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Health Center, Runowicz is second vice president of the American Cancer Society. In 2005, she will become president of the national organization.

As president, she says she will represent the ACS at the world congress on cancer in Washington, D.C. in 2006.While president, the society will sound the issues of information, research, prevention and quality of life -- with emphasis on prevention.

Runowicz calls prevention "the new frontier of cancer research." She notes that the FDA has already approved drugs for cancer prevention and several large-scale, national studies are currently looking at new drugs and approaches to prevent cancer.

"The Answer to Cancer" offers readers steps they can take to lower their risk of developing cancer. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day, exercising most days of the week, and completing all appropriate cancer screening tests.

"We want to empower people and help them use the best knowledge science has discovered to optimize their health," Runowicz explains.

The book provides a primer on how cancer develops as well as detailed discussions about nine common cancers. For each of the cancers, Runowicz and Cherry spell out risk factors, causes, all necessary screening tests and preventive measures. They also write about new and emerging chemopreventive therapies -- using natural or synthetic substances, such as a nutrient or a drug -- to keep cancer at bay or derail the disease process before it becomes invasive.

It’s also important to eat the right foods.

Runowicz says she follows her own regimen. In the morning, she has a glass of orange juice and a piece of melon. Lunch is a green salad with olive oil or a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and lettuce.

She’ll have raisins, carrots or an apple for her afternoon snack. Dinner is salad, fish and a vegetable.

"Americans are killing themselves," she says. "When I’m in New York City, I walk everywhere. Here in Farmington, I find myself driving around parking lots looking for the closest space. We need to take charge of our health and our lives."

To Runowicz, diet is a bad four-letter word. "I live a lifestyle, not a diet," she says. "The key is to restrict your calories. If you take in more than you expend, you’ll gain weight. So, get moving. Walk that extra block."

At the UConn Health Center, Runowicz is starting a colon cancer prevention program for relatives of patients with colon cancer. Breast cancer is next on her list.

About breast cancer, Runowicz is adamant about checkups.

"Elizabeth Edwards (wife of Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards) didn’t have a mammogram for four years," she says. "She’s a bright woman; she should have known better. Too often we put off what we don’t want to do. But, really, we have to take charge of our life."

"The Answer to Cancer" is available in most book stores.