Robyn Stoller, Author at NFCR

Robyn Stoller

Two of Our Favorite Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes

During the holidays, it’s easy to let your healthy eating habits slide. Tasty treats are everywhere – especially cookies. And they’re nearly impossible to resist!  To help during this copious cookie time, we’ve hand-picked two of our favorite recipes that offer a healthier take on your favorite holiday treats. These recipes use wholesome ingredients so you can feel good about snacking.

Give Pick-Me-Up Cookie Balls and Good-for-You Gingerbread Cookies a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Pick-Me-Up Cookie Balls

(Adapted from Kale & Chocolate)


1 cup cashews
½ cup pecans
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup goji berries
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp coconut oil
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cacao nibs (pulse at the end)
Pinch of sea salt


  1. Place the nuts in the food processor and process until the nuts are in pieces but not a powder.
  2. Add the goji berries, coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt. (Reserve cacao nibs)
  3. Combine all ingredients and process until a dough-like consistency begins to form, but there are still little chunks of nuts and goji berries remaining.
  4. Add the cacao nibs and pulse a few times to incorporate them into the dough.
  5. To make the balls: use a small scooper ( about 1 ½ inches) or roll 1 Tbsp at a time in your hands. Because the mixture is mostly nuts, it will feel oily if you roll the balls by hand. Make sure to pack the dough tightly against the scooper or in your hands before placing on a plate or tray.
  6. Put in the freezer for 30 minutes to set. Store in refrigerator up to 5 days or freezer for 2 months.

Good-for-you Gingerbread Cookies

(Adapted from Pheebs Foods)


5 cups almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of Salt
4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 Tbsp blackstrap molasses


  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well until the spices are evenly distributed.
  3. Whisk all wet ingredients in another bowl, adding the oil last to ensure it doesn’t harden.
  4. Pour wet mix into dry and mix well with a spoon until a dough forms – it will be a lot stickier then normal dough and a bit more fragile
  5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured board (using a small amount of white flour makes kneading easier).
  6. Form dough into a well-mixed ball. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  7. Once chilled, roll out dough to approximately 1/2 cm thick and use a cookie cutter to cut out your gingerbread men.
  8. Place onto baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, longer depending on how crunchy or soft you like your cookies.
  9. Allow to cool fully before decorating.

For more healthy holiday ideas, read 6 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays


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The Full Story of Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi

Learn About the Vitamin-C Studying, Nobel-Prize Winning Co-Founder of NFCR

The Europe Years

Born in Budapest, Hungary on September 16, 1893, Albert Szent-Györgyi’s early life was filled with studying and interrupted by war. Szent-Györgyi was a medical student at the University of Budapest in 1911 and, during his studies, left to fight in World War I.  He was awarded the Silver Medal for Valour and was discharged after being wounded in action. He returned to medical school and graduated in 1917 as a doctor of medicine.

Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi Google Doodle


On September 16, 2011, which would have been Albert Szent-Gyorgyi’s 118th Birthday, Google featured his accomplishments with a Google Doodle.

He studied, worked and taught in labs in Prague, Berlin, Leiden, Hamburg and Cambridge in the 1920s and 1930s. Dr. Szent-Györgyi’s early research was focused on the chemistry of cell respiration.

Dr. Szent-Györgyi was a pioneer and, like many explorers, he challenged the conventional thinking of the day to pursue his novel and promising ideas. He won the Nobel Prize for his study of vitamin C and cell respiration in 1937.

Coming to America

Dr. Szent-Györgyi was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University in 1936 and, earlier, conducted research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, but he spent the years during World War II in Europe. As World War II approached and fascists gained control of the Hungarian government, Dr. Szent-Györgyi helped Jewish friends flee the country. It is alleged Adolf Hitler personally ordered Dr. Szent-Györgyi’s arrest and, for part of the war, he was hiding from the Gestapo.

Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi in the labAfter the war ended, he returned to University of Budapest to establish a laboratory and was elected to the Hungarian parliament. However, his opposition to the communist influence in Budapest led to his emigration to the United States in 1947 where he founded the Institute for Muscle Research at Woods Hole Marine Laboratory in Massachusetts.

Cancer Research and Accolades

1971 Szent-Gyorgyi - Salisbury letter

Text of a letter from Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi to Frank Salisbury, after Salisbury made a donation to Dr. Szent-Györgyis research before they partnered on NFCR.

In the late 1950s, Dr. Szent-Györgyi developed a research interest in the biochemistry of cancer. And after meeting Franklin Salisbury, in 1973, they co-founded the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR). Since then, NFCR has provided more than $340 million in support of cancer research and prevention education programs.

Dr. Szent-Györgyi was a member of many scientific societies in different countries and received many honors, in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the Cameron Prize of Edinburgh University in 1946 and the Lasker Award in 1954.  He wrote ten books, including On Oxidation, Fermentation, Vitamins, Health and Disease (1939), Chemistry of Muscular Contraction (1947), Chemical Physiology of Contraction in Body and Heart Muscle (1953) and Bioenergetics (1957).

Dr. Szent-Györgyi passed away on October 22, 1986 of kidney failure at his home in Massachusetts. Through NFCR, his work continues to help individuals throughout the world.

Franklin Salisbury and Dr. Albert von Szent-Györgyi in 1982

Franklin Salisbury and Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi in 1982

The Albert Szent-Györgyi Prize

The Albert Szent-Györgyi PrizeNFCR is committed to upholding Dr. Szent-Györgyi’s vision of curing cancer through innovation and collaboration. As part of this commitment, NFCR has established this prize to honor scientists who have made extraordinary progress in cancer research and to focus attention on the essential role of basic research in finding the still elusive answers to the mysteries of cancer.

The Szent-Györgyi Prize serves to stimulate the quest for continued investment in the pioneering research that will produce scientific breakthroughs and lead to a deeper understanding of the scientific concepts behind the genetics and molecular makeup of cancer. By calling attention annually to achievements in this area, it is our desire to heighten awareness of the kind of research and discovery that must be accomplished
before we can hope to produce cancer cures.

Related Articles

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6 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, it can also be a time for overindulging, weight gain and even illness. So when you see the piled-up desserts or sugar-heavy side dishes, remember that research links certain cancers – including breast, prostate, colorectal, esophageal, endometrial, kidney and pancreatic – to obesity.

But don’t fret! There are some straightforward ways to enjoy festive food while putting your health first. Follow these simple tips for eating and living healthy this holiday season:

1. Swap it out

Creating healthier versions of your holiday favorites is easy – just swap out a few ingredients for more healthy ones.  For instance,

  • Replace white flour with finely-ground soft white wheat flour, almond flour or coconut flour.
  • Replace oil with unsweetened applesauce.
  • Replace refined sugar with maple syrup, agave nectar, honey or coconut sugar.

[Try our recipe for Superfood Cranberry Sauce that uses a smart swap so it’s not loaded with white sugar]

2. Indulge with healthier desserts

strawberriesSweets and treats don’t have to be completely off-limits.  You can choose desserts made with healthy, cancer-fighting ingredients such as:

[Did you know pumpkin has cancer-fighting power? To learn more, click here]

3. Go a little nuts

nutsSnack on a handful nuts before you go to a holiday party.  When you arrive to a holiday event with a full stomach, you will less likely overeat or over-indulge in sweets, alcohol, and other unhealthy foods.

Choose from almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts or pistachio- they all have great cancer-fighting power.

4. Consume alcohol in moderation

Although moderate alcohol use has possible health benefits, it’s also not risk-free.  Not only can alcohol impair your judgment, but excessive use can cause liver damage, heart problems, and even cancer.  To reduce your lifetime risk of cancer, men should not consume more than 2 drinks per day and women should not consume more than 3 drinks per week.

5. Keep moving

running Finding time to exercise – especially during the holidays – is no easy feat.  Go for a quick run or create opportunities to walk for at least 10 minutes at a time. When you have the chance to walk up and down stairs, do it – even offer to get someone else’s food or drink for them (cordiality points are a bonus)! Jumping rope is another quick way to get in an intense cardio workout in just a few minutes – plus, it can be done just about anywhere.  Regardless of how you do it, try not to stop moving around the holidays – exercise helps relieve holiday stress, weight gain and reduces cancer-related risks.

6. Stay germ-free

Colds and the flu run rampant this time of year.  Washing your hands regularly and urging others to do the same will help prevent illness.  Use warm soap and water whenever possible.  Get your flu shot if you haven’t already – especially if you have or have had cancer.

[Have you read What You Should Know About the 2016-2017 Flu Season?]


From all of us at NFCR, we wish you a safe, happy, wonderful holiday season!


Superfood Cranberry Sauce
(Adapted from Kale & Chocolate)
*Serves 8 


  • 3 cups cranberries, washed
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or coconut sugar
  • Juice of half an orange (about 1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Optional: grate in fresh ginger and/or add up to one teaspoon cinnamon


  1. In a medium pot bring water, sweetener and cranberries to a boil.
  2. Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the cranberries split open and most of the water has reduced.
  3. Remove from the heat. Squeeze the fresh juice of half of an orange into the mixture.
  4. Mix in the optional spices if using. Add the chia seeds, orange zest, and pinch of salt and mix. Allow the sauce to cool for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  5. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
  6. Stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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7 Facts You Need to Know About Lung Cancer

With lung cancer continuing to affect the lives of so many people, it’s important to understand the disease and what we can do to improve our chances of beating it.


  • In the United States, an estimated 222,500 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year.
  • Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women.
  • More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined, as it claims nearly 160,000 lives every year.

Here’s a list of seven facts you need to know about lung cancer. (And make sure you read about related work by NFCR-funded scientists Dr. Daniel Haber and Dr. Alice Shaw)

1. Targeted therapies are showing great promise in treating lung cancer.

If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, talk to your doctor about comprehensive genomic tumor testing. It is best to have this discussion before the initial biopsy, but it is never too late to discuss this with your doctor.

2. CT screenings can save lives.

Get screened using a low-dose CT scan- it’s the only proven effective way to screen for lung cancer.  X-rays do not detect lung cancer at it’s earliest of stages.

3. Smoking is the #1 risk factor….

Cigarette smoking is the #1 risk factor for lung cancer.  Smoking cigars, pipes and hooka also increases your risk.  If you are a current or former smoker, your risk of developing lung may be up to 25 times higher than someone who never smoked. Quitting reduces your risk, even if you’ve smoked for years.

In addition to causing cancer, smoking damages nearly every organ and organ system in your body.  Consider taking part in the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 16, 2017.  Talk to your doctor about strategies or stop-smoking aids that can help you quit.

4. …But, be aware, nonsmokers can get lung cancer too.

Roughly 10 to 15 percent of lung cancer cases occur in non-smokers.  Risk factors include:  exposure to radon gas, secondhand smoke, carcinogens like asbestos or diesel exhaust, air pollution and even gene mutations.

5. There are identifiable warning signs that can lead to early diagnosis.

Only 16% of people with lung cancer will be diagnosed when at the earliest stage, when the disease is most treatable.  If you are experiencing a chronic cough, coughing up blood, hoarseness, wheezing, frequent shortness of breath, chest pain, bone pain, or unexplained weight loss, talk to your doctor right away.

Also talk to your doctor if you have a family history of lung cancer – especially a parent or sibling.

6. There are different types of lung cancer. 

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, making up 80-85% of all cases.   Adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma and large cell neuroendocrine tumors are considered to be part of this group.

Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) makes up 15-20% of all lung cancer cases.  This is a fast-growing cancer that spreads rapidly to other parts of the body.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of organs and can originate in the lungs or the abdomen, heart, and chest.  It is associated with exposure to asbestos.

Carcinoid tumors are a type of neuroendocrine tumor that can originate in the lungs or small intestine.

7. Cutting-Edge research helps us attack lung cancer head on.

NFCR-funded scientists are working around-the-clock on projects that can help us attack lung cancer. For example, in July, the FDA approved the drug Iressa® as front-line treatment for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The approval is extended to only those patients whose tumors contain specific mutations, which were originally identified by NFCR scientist Dr. Daniel Haber. 

Also, thanks to NFCR-funded research by Dr. Alice Shaw, a new and better way to treat resistant cancers is emerging. By successfully identifying drug combinations that halted the growth of resistant cells in tumor models, her research will hopefully lead to the development of effective therapeutic strategies for patients with ALK-positive NSCLC (mutations in the ALK gene), which could be clinically tested within one to two years.

Read about NFCR supporters that help fund Dr. Shaw’s research projects.

This blog was originally published on November17, 2016

Please show your support by spreading awareness AND by taking action against the disease.

Support cancer research.  Without funding, we are not able to sustain our efforts to find a cure for lung cancer and all cancers.

Supporters’ Story

The Hillsberg Lung Cancer Translational Research Grant

Each year, about 8,000 patients in the United States and 40,000 worldwide are diagnosed with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). And while patients typically respond well initially to targeted ALK-inhibitor therapy, unfortunately, almost all patients eventually develop resistance to these drugs and their disease progresses.

The lack of clinical development to address this issue caught the attention of two NFCR donors, Sanford and Penny Hillsberg, who are long-time supporters of cancer research.  They were determined to take action to solve this particular drug resistance problem. They turned to NFCR and established a donor-initiated research fund in 2013 to support promising research in this critical field.  Their biggest hope is that their partnership with NFCR will help accelerate the clinical development of new and effective treatments for those who have already run out of options for their resistant lung cancer.

“We are so happy to be part of this important research effort,” said Mr. Hillsberg.  “We have worked with NFCR for years, and we know their excellent track record of supporting high-quality science. That’s why we were excited to participate in their donor-initiated research model, which matched our interest in translational lung cancer research with some of the best scientists in the world. We know these efforts will benefit patients fighting cancer, and we are fully committed to continuing our support of the excellent translational lung cancer projects at NFCR.”

If you, too, are interested in establishing a donor-initiated research fund at NFCR, call us at 1-800-321-CURE (2873).

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7 Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

The statistics are staggering. Today, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 8 for U.S. women and 1 in 1,000 for U.S. men. Although there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, there are things we can do to significantly reduce our breast cancer risk. And there are steps we can take to find it early- when it’s most treatable- if it does occur. Follow these 7 steps to minimize your breast cancer risk.

1. Know your family history- even your father’s.

You may be at a higher risk of breast cancer if you have family members (parent, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews) who have developed breast, ovarian or prostate cancer—especially at an early age.

Men and women with a strong family history of cancer may want to consider genetic counseling. Talk to your doctor or genetic counselor.


2. Watch your weight and give your body the nutrients it needs.

Maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and nourishing your body with fruits and vegetables can help lower risk of breast cancer. Studies have shown that women’s breast cancer risk is increased with obesity (being extremely overweight) especially after menopause. Obesity is probably a risk factor for male breast cancer as well.

3. Get moving!

Studies have conclusively shown that exercise can help cut down your breast cancer risk and even help breast cancer survivors live longer. So get out there and dance, run, swim, bike or walk. Exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes every day.

 Other examples of moderate intensity exercise include:

  • Cleaning such as washing windows, vacuuming and mopping
  • Tennis doubles
  • Mowing lawn (power mower)


4. Avoid tobacco.

If you’re a smoker, quit! Smoking not only causes many different cancers including breast cancer, it can also damage nearly every organ in your body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, eyes, skin and bones.

Smoking causes a number of diseases and is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women.

Avoid second hand smoke whenever possible—it can be just as damaging.  Research also has shown that there may be link between very heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.

5. Limit your alcohol intake.

Women should limit their alcohol intake to less than 3 drinks per week. New studies suggest that women who drink 3 to 6 drinks per week of any type of alcohol have a 15% increase in their risk of breast cancer.

Men can have high estrogen levels as a result of being heavy users of alcohol, which can limit the liver’s ability to regulate blood estrogen levels.


6. Avoid or limit Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Research has shown that menopausal women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be more likely to develop breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about the different options to manage the side effects of menopause, and the risks and benefits of each.


7. Get screened.

Monthly self-breast exams and annual mammograms for women don’t prevent cancer, but they can help find cancer at the earliest stages when it’s most treatable. Please consult your physician for a specific screening schedule tailored to your risk profile.
Cancer research breakthroughs are constantly introducing new tools in the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer. Support cancer research. Without funding, we are not able to sustain our efforts to find a cure for breast cancer- and all cancers.



Give a gift to support life-saving cancer research!


(This blog was originally published on October 21, 2016 and updated on October 18, 2017)

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Smart Sandwich Stacking

4 Easy Cancer-Slowing Tips for Your Go-To Meal

Everybody loves a good sandwich – they’re easy to make, easy to take wherever you go and you can put practically anything on them. Here’s how to construct the perfect cancer-fighting sandwich in four easy steps.

STEP 1:  Choose whole grain breads

Whole grains products are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins.  They also contain phytochemicals that laboratory studies have shown have the potential to stimulate the immune system, to prevent cancer from forming and even to slow the growth rate of cancer cells.

When choosing whole grain products, make sure the word “whole” is on the label. Multi-grain, seven-grain and bran breads are not necessarily whole-grain products.

(You can also skip the bread completely and simply wrap your sandwich in lettuce)

STEP 2:  Pile on a healthy protein

Protein keeps your body functioning and is also needed for growth and repair.

Ideas for healthy proteins include nitrate-free deli meats, low fat cheeses, grilled chicken, homemade tuna, shrimp or egg salad, hummus, natural almond or peanut butter…. the possibilities are endless.

STEP 3:  Add a healthy fat

Research has shown that it’s not necessarily the amount of fat we eat but rather the type of fat we eat that’s important to our health.  Look to add unsaturated fats like natural nut butters, olives and avocados to your sandwiches.  Canola oil or olive oil are also good options.  You can add a few of your favorite seasonings like basil, thyme and oregano to the oil to make a tasty sandwich dressing.

STEP 4:  Add some color

Adding vegetables and fruit to your sandwich creation will not only add crunch or texture to it, but they add a variety of vitamins and nutrients that can help lower your cancer risk.

Try replacing iceberg lettuce with kale, spinach or arugula.  Thinly sliced cucumbers or red peppers, raw or roasted, are also a delicious addition.  Even fruits, fresh or grilled, like peaches, mangoes and apples or berry spreads can add a delicious sweetness to your sandwich.



Did you know that

  • 33% of Americans who eat sandwiches credit their mom with teaching them how to make them.
  • 74% of people cut their sandwich before eating it, either on the diagonal (60%) or down the middle (38%).
  • 61% choose mayo over mustard as their condiment of choice.
  • 52% prefer to spread the mayo on both sides of the bread and 33% like it on only one side.
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6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Gynecologic Cancer

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. Because ALL women are at risk for developing a gynecologic cancer, it’s important for women to understand these diseases and what we can do to prevent them or lower our risk of developing them.  


  • Gynecologic cancers are cancers that start in a woman’s reproductive organs. The main types include cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and vaginal and vulvar cancer. 
  • Every year, more than 80,000 women in the United States are told they have a gynecologic cancer, and more than 25,000 women will die from it.[1]
  • The risk of developing a gynecologic cancer increases with age.
  • When gynecologic cancers are found and treated early, treatment is most effective and often curative.

Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent gynecologic cancer, read below 6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Gynecologic Cancer, to minimize your risk. Also, read about NFCR-supported scientist Dr. Robert Bast, who has dedicated his entire career to the early detection of ovarian cancer. [in post link to info on Dr. Bast at the end of the post]

6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Gynecologic Cancer

  1. Women should have their first Pap smear by age 21.

 The Pap smear or Pap test looks for abnormal cell changes in the cervix to detect cervical cancer in its early stages. All women aged 21-65 should get regular Pap smears as directed by their doctor. Most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who have not had regular Pap tests.[2]

Research has shown that over the last 30 years, the death rate for cervical cancer patients has gone down by more than 50%— an achievement many experts say is a testament to the increased use of the Pap test and the HPV vaccine.

  1. Protect yourself from HPV.

 Human papilloma virus (also known as HPV) infections are the main causes of cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers.  Talk to your doctor about getting the HPV test and ask about the HPV vaccine which protects against the types of HPV that most often cause these cancers. Also, limit your number of sexual partners and, when you do have sex, use a condom.

The CDC recommends that 11- to 12-year-old boys and girls receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart (recently revised from the previous recommended three doses.) Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, need three doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV infection.[3]


  1. Don’t smoke.

 Smoking increases the risk of at least 14 different cancers including cervical, ovarian, vaginal and vulvar cancers. It also damages nearly every organ and organ system in your body.  Quitting reduces your risk, even if you’ve smoked for years. Talk to your doctor about strategies or stop-smoking aids that can help you quit.



  1. Make healthy choices.

To reduce your risk of developing a gynecologic cancer and other cancers, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight, be active and eat a healthy diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.

For more healthy living tips and nutritious, cancer-fighting recipes, visit our Cancer-Fighting Lifestyle section of our website.


  1. Contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

 Most gynecologic cancers do not cause signs and symptoms early on. With that said, if you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away as these are potential warning signs. 

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Bloating
  • Changes in bathroom habits (increased urination, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Itching or burning of the vulva
  • Changes in vulva color or skin (rash, sores, warts, ulcers)[4]


  1. Share your family history with your doctor.

 Approximately 5 to 10% of all cancers are considered hereditary, which means you may be at greater risk for some cancers if you have a personal or family history of cancer or certain diseases. 

Genetic testing is now available to see if you carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation,  which could put you in a high-risk category for ovarian and breast cancer. If you carry a genetic mutation associated to Lynch Syndrome, a heredity condition that increases your risk of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, urinary tract cancer and more,[5] a genetic test may detect that as well.

Please show your support by spreading awareness AND by taking action against gynecologic cancer. Support cancer research today!



Learn about NFCR-funded scientist Dr. Robert Bast

Improving early detection techniques is important for many types of cancer, but it is especially important for ovarian cancer, as it is likely the most effective way to achieve a cure. In fact, the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is above 90% if found during the earliest stage. Unfortunately, only 15% of cases are diagnosed at this stage, making ovarian cancer a notorious “silent killer”. Throughout his entire career, NFCR- funded scientist Dr. Robert Bast has been working to change that. Read more about Dr. Bast’s cutting-edge research and accomplishments in the fight against ovarian cancer.


7 Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

The Pioneering Gene Work of Dr. Mary-Claire King

New genes linked to increased risk of ovarian and brain cancer









Read more

Taste the cancer-fighting power of pumpkin

Pumpkins are not just for Halloween.  They are a low calorie, nutritional powerhouse that can be used to make savory soups, sweet treats and nutritious meals.

1/2 cup of canned pumpkin or fresh cooked pumpkin provides a healthy amount of beta-carotene.  Eaten regularly, pumpkin may help reduce the risk of many types of cancer- including certain types of breast cancer- through its potent antioxidant capacity.

Simple Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Kale Sesame Topping

Adapted from The Minimalist Baker

(And don’t miss it – there’s another tasty pumpkin tip below the recipe!)




2 sugar pumpkins (yields approximately 2 1/4 cups pumpkin puree)
2 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup light coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 tsp each sea salt, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg

GARLIC KALE SESAME TOPPING (optional- but it’s super delicious & also contains cancer-fighting foods like garlic & kale)

1 cup roughly chopped kale (to learn more about the cancer-fighting power of kale, click here)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds
1 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut off the tops of two sugar pumpkins and then halve them. Use a sharp spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and strings.
  1. Brush the flesh with oil and place face down on the baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the skin. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then peel away skin and set pumpkin aside.
  1. To a large saucepan over medium heat add 1 Tbsp olive oil, shallot and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly browned and translucent. Turn down heat if cooking too quickly.
  1. Add remaining ingredients, including the pumpkin, and bring to a simmer.
  1. Transfer soup mixture to a blender or use an emulsion blender to puree the soup. If using a blender, place a towel over the top of the lid before mixing to avoid any accidents.  Pour mixture back into pot.
  1. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes and taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve as is or with Kale-Sesame topping.


For the Kale-Sesame topping:

  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, dry toast sesame seeds for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until slightly golden brown. Be careful as they can burn quickly.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  1. To the still hot pan, add olive oil and garlic and sauté until golden brown – about 2 minutes. Add kale and toss, then add a pinch of salt and cover to steam.  Cook for another few minutes until kale is wilted and then add sesame seeds back in.  Toss to coat and set aside for topping soup. Recipe serves 3-4. Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to a few days, and in the freezer for up to a month or more.

pumpkin-seedsDon’t throw away the pumpkin seeds.  Diets rich in pumpkin seeds have been associated with lower levels of stomach, breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers.

Simply wash, dry and season them with a little olive oil, paprika and kosher salt.  Then roast them at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes to make a delicious, crunchy snack.

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7 Facts You Need to Know About Blood Cancers

Blood cancers form in the bone marrow where blood is made or in the lymphatic system which protects us from infections.


  • Blood cancers account for almost 10% of new cancer cases in the U.S. each year.
  • More than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are either living with or in remission today from a blood cancer.
  • Leukemias are the most common cancers in children and account for about 30% of all childhood cancers.
  • This year, an estimated 58,300 people are expected to die as a result of a blood cancer.[1]

With these cancers continuing to affect the lives of so many people, it’s important to understand the disease and what we can do to improve our chances of beating it.

Here’s a list of seven facts you need to know about blood cancers. And make sure you read about lymphoma survivor Sarah Byrd, who says she owes her life to NFCR-funded scientist Dr. Curt Civin.

1. Every three minutes, one person in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer.

Blood cancers affect both children and adults and account for almost 10% of new cancer cases in the U.S. each year. That means approximately 172,910 people will be diagnosed with a blood cancer this year. Of these cases, 36% will be diagnosed with a leukemia, 47% with a lymphoma and 18% with myeloma.[2]

2. Survival rates have significantly improved in the last 20 years.

Decades of research have led to vastly improved outcomes for people with blood cancers. According to the National Institutes of Health, 63% of people diagnosed with leukemia live five years or longer. That rate climbs to 70% for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 85.9% for Hodgkin lymphoma.[3]

 3. Every 9 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from a blood cancer.

Of the almost 601,000 people are who expected to die from cancer this year, 58,300 or 9.7% will have been diagnosed with a blood cancer. Despite the progress we’ve made in the fight against blood cancer, there is still much work we need to do.   

 4. There are no effective screening tests for the early detection of blood cancers.

Screening tests like mammograms for breast cancer and colonoscopies for colorectal cancer can help with the early detection and prevention of these cancers.  Although scientists are researching ways to prevent or detect all cancers at their earliest stages, nothing exists for blood cancers at this time.  As a result, people don’t typically know something is wrong until they experience symptoms.

5. …But there are warning signs.

Common blood cancer symptoms include:

  • Fever, chills
  • Persistent fatigue, weakness
  • Loss of appetite, nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Bone/joint pain
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent infections
  • Itchy skin or skin rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms orgroin

Talk to your doctor right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

 6. There are three main types of blood cancers.[4]

  • Leukemia is a type of cancer found in your blood and bone marrow and affects your white blood cells. Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of childhoodleukemia, and acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is the second most common. The two most common adult leukemias are AML and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
  • About half of the blood cancers that occur each year are lymphomas, or cancers of the lymphatic system. There are two types of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 
  • Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow. Myeloma cells prevent the normal production of antibodies, leaving your body’s immune system weakened and susceptible to infection. Because myeloma frequently occurs at many sites in the bone marrow, it is often referred to as multiple myeloma.

7. Read Sarah’s Story: Dr. Civin’s Cancer Research “Saved My Life”

35year old Sarah Bryd lives in Atlanta and is now five years in remission from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma because of a bone marrow stem cell transplant made possible by Dr. Civin’s work decades before. “It saved my life,” says Sarah, who at one point was in so much pain she begged her doctors to put her in a coma. Thanks to Dr. Civin’s research, today she is not just surviving, but thriving. Read Sarah’s inspirational story.

Please show your support by spreading awareness AND by taking action against the disease. Support cancer research.

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7 Facts You Need to Know About Childhood Cancers

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades and continue to affect the lives of children and their families worldwide, it’s important to understand it.


  • Childhood cancer does not discriminate— it affects every ethnic group and socioeconomic class in every geographic region around the world.
  • In the United States, the incidence of cancer among adolescents and young adults is increasing at a greater rate than any other age group, except those over 65 years. [1]
  • Although great strides in treatment and care have been made, childhood cancer is still the number one disease killer of children in the U.S.

Here’s a list of seven facts you need to know about childhood cancer. And make sure you read about related work by NFCR-funded scientist Dr. Curt Civin [7]

  1. Every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer.About 300,000 kids worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year. In 2016, 215,000 of these children were ages 0- 14 years-old and 85,000 were between the ages of 15 and 19 years old.[2]

  2. Thanks to pediatric cancer research, survival rates are improving.

In 1975, just over 50% of children diagnosed with cancer survived their disease. Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, more than 80% of children with cancer now survive 5 years or more.[3]  The statistics are even better when it comes to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In the 1950s, almost every child diagnosed with ALL died, while today about 90% of children with ALL survive.

(Note: Specific survival rates vary depending on the type of cancer and other factors)

  3. The types of cancer that develop in children are often different from the types that develop in adults. 

Childhood cancers are often the result of DNA changes in cells that take place very early in life, sometimes even before birth. Unlike many cancers in adults, childhood cancers are not strongly linked to lifestyle or environmental risk factors.[4]

  4. The most common childhood cancer is leukemia.

Other cancers that typically attack children include:

  • Brain and spinal cord tumors
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Wilms tumor
  • Lymphoma (including both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin)
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Bone cancer (including osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma)[5]

Meet Childhood Cancer Survivor Richi

When Richi was just six years old, he was diagnosed with high-risk medulloblastoma, one of the most aggressive childhood brain tumors in existence. That year Richi endured 18 surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. His family had to watch their little boy suffer, all the while wondering if he would ever get well.

Now, six years later, Richi is considered a survivor. He still continues his fight daily, living with a long list of side effects that may be with him for his whole life. Kids shouldn’t have their childhoods robbed by cancer. Parents shouldn’t have to watch their children battle this devastating illness at a time that should be filled with happiness.

The scientists we fund with your support are focused on only one thing — finding a cure for ALL cancers. But cancer is the second leading cause of death in children, and if we ever needed a reminder as to why the work we do is important, it’s special young people like Richi, the impetus behind NFCR’s newest partner The Richi Foundation.

Founded in 2014, the Richi Foundation works to ensure that all children and adolescents who suffer from cancer have the best prognosis and quality of life. We look forward to working with the Richi Foundation towards accelerating pediatric cancer research. Keep an eye out for more information coming soon on our partnership involving Richi Talent.

  5. Regular follow-up care is very important for survivors of childhood cancer.

The treatment of cancer often causes health problems for childhood cancer survivors years or decades after successful treatment has ended. Known as late effects, these health issues include secondary cancers, cardiovascular complications, endocrinopathy, fatigue and cognitive problems.[6] Regular follow-up by health professionals who are trained to find and treat late effects is important.


  6. YOU can make a difference.

Although great strides in treatment and care have been made, childhood cancer is still the number one disease killer of children in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death (following accidents) in children ages 5-14. With your support, we can find more cures and give survivors long, healthy lives. To make a donation today, visit

  7. Today’s research WILL lead to tomorrow’s cures.

Leukemia is the most common type of cancer affecting children and is a great success story for cancer research — one in which NFCR-funded Dr. Curt Civin played an important role. His early work on bone marrow stem cell transplantation was partially responsible for the dramatic increase of the five-year survival for all types of leukemia over the past 20 years.

NFCR is proud to fund the best and brightest cancer researchers in the world enabling them to make breakthrough discoveries and laying the groundwork for many of today’s most innovative and effective cancer therapies.  An investment in cancer research today will bring us better treatments and more cures in the near future!







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