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.


What’s involved in a Vascular Health Screening?

Vascular disease is a broad term that describes a number of conditions of the circulatory system that affect millions of Americans each year.

According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, “Sometimes people who have potentially threatening vascular disease may not be aware of its presence because warning symptoms have not yet developed. For this reason, vascular screening is used as a method to detect the presence of serious vascular disease in the general population before it has a chance to cause harm.”

Vascular diseases range from diseases of the arteries, veins and lymph vessels, to blood disorders that affect circulation. When disease occurs in the arteries, less blood is delivered to the tissues, reducing the oxygen and nutrients needed by the tissues of the body. Types of vascular disease include coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease (PAD) and peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

Diagnosis of vascular disease is made on the basis of your medical history and symptoms, but generally begins with a physical exam. Your healthcare provider will begin by checking for weak pulses in the legs. Your physical examination may also include the following:

  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI): the ABI is a painless exam that compares the blood pressure in your feet to the blood pressure in your arms to determine how well your blood is flowing. This inexpensive test takes only a few minutes and can be performed by your healthcare professional as part of a routine exam. Normally, the ankle pressure is at least 90 percent of the arm pressure, but with severe narrowing it may be less than 50 percent. If there is an abnormal difference between the blood pressure of the ankle and arm, you may require more testing. Your doctor may recommend one of the following tests:
  • Doppler and Ultrasound (Duplex) imaging: is a non-invasive method that visualizes the artery with sound waves and measures the blood flow in an artery to indicate the presence of a blockage.
  • Angiography: This procedure is generally reserved for use in conjunction with vascular treatment procedures. During an angiogram, a contrast agent is injected into the artery and X-rays are taken to show blood flow, arteries in the legs and to pinpoint any blockages that may be present.

How should a patient prepare for a vascular screening?

  1. Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to your condition.
  2. Write down key personal information, including a family history.
  3. Make a list of all medications, including OTCs (over-the counter), vitamins and supplements that you’re taking.
  4. Write down questions you want to ask the doctor. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. Some basic questions to ask include:
  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes for my condition?
  • What kinds of tests will I need?
  • What are the risks and benefits of the tests and the treatment plan you recommend?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you’re suggesting?
  • Are there any diet or activity restrictions that I need to follow, either for the tests or the treatment?
  • Should I see a specialist, and if so can VCU Baird Vascular Institute recommend a specialist?
  • What is the cost of the tests and the treatments?
  • Does insurance usually cover the tests and treatments? (You will need to ask your insurance provider directly for specific information about coverage.)
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
  • What websites do you recommend visiting for more information about my condition?

How would I know if there was an issue with my port?

During cancer treatment or other health issues, your healthcare team may need frequent access to your veins to give you treatment. To avoid placement of a new IV line for each treatment, or repeated needle sticks to draw blood, your physician may recommend a port (such as a port-a-cath) or other long term IV access.

There are a few potential side effects and risks that should be discussed with your doctor. The risks may include infections, blockages or clots, and other problems that are less common, such as kinks under the skin or a shift in the position of the port.

If you experience any of the following issues, you should contact your physician immediately.

  • You develop a fever
  • Fluid is leaking from the port or area surrounding the port
  • There is bleeding from the area of insertion
  • The surrounding skin becomes swollen, red or warm to the touch
  • It becomes difficult to get liquid into the port
  • You develop uncharacteristic shortness of breath or dizziness
  • The tube outside your body is longer that it was previously

The VCU Baird Vascular Institute provides convenient services if issues arise with your port. We understand how important it is to be close to home when you have health concerns. Our expert physicians specialize in placing port-a-caths, and other IV catheters and are also exceptional at diagnosing and remedying issues with previously placed ports.


Patients appreciate BVI’s convenience

In real estate, the famous saying is “location, location, location.” These days, it’s true about medical services as well. Patients appreciate being able to reach their physician and treatments easily. And that’s one of the big ideas behind VCU Baird Vascular Institute (BVI).

Located just off Interstate 195 in the near West End at 205 N. Hamilton Street, BVI brings the expertise of VCU Medical Center to a convenient neighborhood setting. Easy to reach from almost any area of town, BVI is perfect for patients who need non-emergency vascular services.

Services offered at BVI include:

• Port Placement for Cancer Treatment

• Dialysis Access Management

• Peripheral Vascular Disease Treatment

• Vascular Ultrasound

• Cosmetic Vein Procedures

“Our location is very convenient, especially for those patients who might be in pain where it’s not the easiest thing to travel,” said Megan Quinn, manager of BVI. “This is a smart location for patients to be seen by great physicians.”

Appointments are convenient and easy, too. BVI strives to accommodate each patient and their physicians. We work to set up appointments quickly.

Patients who do not need a referral may call BVI directly to quickly schedule their appointment. Physicians who need to refer a patient to our team are welcome to call our office. No matter how patients come to BVI, each will receive the same high-quality treatment from specially trained physicians and caring staff that patients at the main medical center receive.

Finally, patients will find plenty of free and convenient parking right in front of the BVI office. For expert knowledgeable care, convenient appointments and easy parking, come to BVI. For more information, please call (804) 828-2600 or email