Grow these cancer-fighting foods right in your own garden

Baird gardening

While no single food will protect you from disease, there are many foods that have disease-fighting properties that can be grown easily in your home garden. Some foods actually increase your risk of cancer, but some, such as these below, will support a healthy body and strengthen your immune system.

Cruciferous vegetables. These types of vegetable include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale. Scientists have found that these foods are likely to protect against some types of cancers. A protective effect has been shown for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, voice box, esophagus, and stomach. Several laboratory studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables help regulate the body’s complex system of enzymes that defend against cancer. They also show that parts of the vegetables can stop cancer cell growth.





Click here for a yummy bok choy salad recipe.


Lycopene. Many vitamin supplements tout lycopene among their makeup recently. But you can also find this carotenoid in a home-gardening favorite – tomatoes and tomato based products. Lycopene can also be found in watermelon, another easy to grow plant. Studies show that lycopene may protect against several cancers, including lung, stomach, prostate, colon, oral, and esophageal cancers.



Put that great summer watermelon to use with this Watermelon Salsa recipe.



Leafy, green vegetables such as spinach, kale, collards and chard are rich in fiber, folate and a wide range of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Researchers believe that carotenoids help prevent cancer by acting as. Some laboratory research has found that the carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.




Ready for a dinner salad full of dark, leafy greens? Click here for a great recipe.


Minimizing Skin Cancer Risks


Baird Sun protection

Now that warm weather is here, many of us are spending more time outdoors exercising or taking care of yard work. Whether spending the day outside, or just taking care of a few chores, it’s important to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Depending on your skin tone, even just a few minutes can cause damage to your skin. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Always use Sunscreen. This may seem obvious, but over and over again, people get sunburned because they intend to spend just a few minutes outside, and a few hours later, return to the indoors with bright pink skin that will be burning in a few hours. Make it a habit, every time you go outside, to apply a broad-spectrum, high SPF sunscreen. And reapply according to the directions on the sunscreen – more often when exercising or in the water.

Don’t forget about a hat. Not only does a hat help keep the sun out of your eyes, but a wide brimmed hat also provides an extra layer of protection to the skin on your face and neck. If you find yourself without a hat – at an outdoor event, for example – an umbrella could also help shield your skin from the sun.

Lightweight, long sleeved fabrics, also provide great protection from the sun. Lightweight fabrics such as linen are not only comfortable, but will provide an extra sun barrier. While not practical for some activities, they are an ideal option for many activities and provide great sun protection.

Monitoring moles and skin tags for signs of change or discoloration is key to early detection. Make a yearly checkup to get your moles examined for any suspicious changes or color.

Avoid tanning beds. Like sunscreen, this may seem obvious, but many people turn to tanning beds this time of year for a “base tan.” Unfortunately, many think that a base tan will protect them from sunburns later in the year. That’s simply not the case, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.

Finally, don’t forget about your eyes. The sun can do damage to your eyes as well. Wearing sunglasses helps protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays, and also the sensitive skin around your eyes. Choose sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays – and don’t think you have to spend a fortune, either. A recent report by NBC’s Jeff Rossen revealed that the cheaper, drug store sunglasses protect eyes just as well as the expensive designer sunglasses. The key? Look for a sticker that says “100 percent UV protection” or “UV 400” for the best bet for protecting your eyes.

Ad campaign featuring our new website is a hit

VCU Baird SHSMD awardsBack in September, we launched a new website and advertising campaign to promote our Image-Guided Tendon Treatment, as a better alternative for pain relief for conditions such as plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow and other tendon issues. The new website,, shows an animated character who goes to great lengths to avoid foot pain, including traveling by balloon and being shot out of a cannon.

Created by our advertising agency ndp, and animator Studio Flatlands, the use of a cartoon character to illustrate the pain of plantar fasciitis, and an effective way to relieve it, is unusual, says VCU Health’s Geoff Chestnut.

“We decided that we wanted to pursue something a little more creative than the usual austere and authority driven medical marketing that one so typically sees in the environment today,” he said. “The idea of showing doctors in white coats with smiling patients did not seem to be an approach that would stand out. ndp suggested using animated graphics and interactive, online multi-media components that could easily translate into more traditional forms of marketing such as print, and we’re excited about the results.”

“We wanted each viewer to have an ‘I can relate’ moment when they saw our work,” explained ndp Creative Director Jason Anderson, which is why they compared the pain of plantar fasciitis to stepping on tacks, tiny land mines, and hot coals.

The website recently won a Gold and Best In Show award at the MASHSMD (Mid-Atlantic Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development) conference.

Our Image-Guided Tendon Treatment goes beyond conventional therapies such as ice, rest, stretching and steroid injections and works by removing the damaged tendon tissue so that a natural healing process can occur. Unlike traditional surgery, this minimally-invasive process can be completed in around 20 minutes and requires no general anesthesia. For those suffering from the chronic pain of plantar fasciitis, this is good news, say Chestnut, and the new website and advertising materials help explain it.