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Cancer Research America

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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Tasty Tomatoes: Anti-Cancer Attributes & A Healthy Recipe

While people debate the age-old question about whether tomatoes are a fruit or vegetable, here’s an undisputed fact: Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C and E, and the antioxidant lycopene.

Studies show that lycopene may help prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. The powerful antioxidant can also help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. Plus, there’s some evidence that cancers of the pancreas, colon and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast and cervix can be reduced with increased lycopene intake.


What Types of Tomato Products Should I Eat?

Lycopene is a lipid-soluble compound, which means that consuming it with fat (oil) increases its bioavailability. So you will obtain more lycopene from the fresh tomatoes in your salad when they are paired with a full fat dressing ins
tead of reduced fat dressing.

Additionally, our bodies extract the most benefit of the lycopene from processed tomato products, such as tomato paste, sauce and ketchup. So keep the tomato-y condiments on hand for a healthy boost!

Need a tomato-heavy recipe suggestion? Try the delicious fish recipe below. Bon appétit!

Sear-Roasted Halibut with Tomato & Capers 

Adapted from Fine Cooking


  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2  tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb thick skinless halibut fillet (or other mild white fish, like cod), cut into 4 even pieces
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the tomatoes, capers, oregano, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
  3. Season the fish with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and dredge it in the flour, shaking off the excess. Heat the oil in a 12-inch (preferably nonstick) ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the fish, evenly spaced, and cook without touching until it browns and releases easily from the pan (check by gently lifting one of the corners), about 3 minutes. Flip the fish, sprinkle the garlic around it, and cook until the garlic just starts to brown on some edges, about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the tomato mixture around the fish and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast until the fish is just firm to the touch and opaque when you pry open a thicker piece with a paring knife, 3 to 6 minutes.
  5. Let the fish rest for a couple of minutes and then serve with the tomato mixture spooned over it.

Related NFCR Research

NFCR-funded researcher Dr. Helmut Sies, a world-renowned scientist in the field of cancer prevention, discovered that lycopene has the highest antioxidant capacity of carotenoids (colorful pigments in fruits and vegetables).

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NFCR’s Dr. Web Cavenee Honored at Prestigious Gray Gala

On Friday, November 11, 2016, the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) held its annual Gray Gala to recognize and celebrate the achievements of change-makers across the brain tumor community.  Pioneers in brain tumor research were honored, including Dr. Web Cavenee, Chairman of NFCR’s Scientific Advisory Board and former NFCR-funded research fellow.  Dr. Cavenee was awarded the 2016 Feldman Founder’s Award for Adult Brain Tumor Research.

David Arons, CEO NBTS; Dr. Web Cavanee, Ludwig Cancer Research and Chairman of NFCR Scientific Advisory Board; G. Bonnie Feldman, Founder of NBTS; Dr. David Louis, Pathology Chair Mass General Hospital)
Pictured above from left to right: David Arons, CEO NBTS; Dr. Web Cavanee, Ludwig Cancer Research and Chairman of NFCR Scientific Advisory Board; G. Bonnie Feldman, Founder of NBTS; Dr. David Louis, Pathology Chair Mass General Hospital)

“It was an honor to witness the celebration of the scientists, advocates and volunteers all joined together to support the brain tumor community,” said Dr. Sujuan Ba, President and COO of NFCR.

Dr. Sujuan Ba spoke to fellow leaders at the Gray Gala about this collaboration and stressed, “NFCR is proud to partner with the National Brain Tumor Society to fight GBM, one of the most deadly cancers.” Dr. Sujuan Ba is particularly enthusiastic about an innovative undertaking both the NFCR and NBTS are supporting: GBM AGILE.  Led by the best and brightest cancer researchers, GBM AGILE is a revolutionary global collaborative program to test and develop new brain cancer treatments. Its adaptive and personalized approach will cut several years of the clinical testing and reveal potentially lifesaving treatments far faster than has ever been possible. Additionally, the learning from GBM can be used for other cancers using similar approaches to save more lives.

Pictured: G. Bonnie Feldman, Founder of NBTS (left) and Dr. Sujuan Ba
Pictured: G. Bonnie Feldman, Founder of NBTS (left) and Dr. Sujuan Ba
Pictured: David Arons, CEO of NBTS (left) and Dr. Sujuan Ba
Pictured: David Arons, CEO of NBTS (left) and Dr. Sujuan Ba
Dr. Sujuan Ba with Key leaders of GBM AGILE pictured from left to right:
Dr. Alfred Yung (MD Anderson Cancer Center and NFCR Fellow);
Dr. Brian Alexander (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute);
Dr. Web Cavanee (Ludwig Cancer Research and Chairman of NFCR Scientific Advisory Board)
Dr. Sujuan Ba with Key leaders of GBM AGILE pictured from left to right: Dr. Alfred Yung (MD Anderson Cancer Center and NFCR Fellow); Dr. Brian Alexander (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute); Dr. Web Cavanee (Ludwig Cancer Research and Chairman of NFCR Scientific Advisory Board)
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NFCR-Funded Scientist Selected as ‘Giant of Cancer Care’

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, Director of the NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies at TGen, has been selected as a 2016 Giants of Cancer Care® by OncLive.  Dr. Von Hoff, Physician-In-Chief and Distinguished Professor at TGen, is a world-renowned physician scientist in cancer research. NFCR has been funding Dr. Von Hoff’s research for over thirty years—in fact, provided Dr. Von Hoff with his very first peer-reviewed grant—and has been supporting his pioneering research ever since.


On behalf of NFCR, Chief Science Officer Michael Wang congratulates Dr. Daniel Von Hoff in person on November 11, 2016

“NFCR congratulates Dr. Von Hoff on this honor; he is truly a ‘Giant of Cancer Care,’” said Franklin Salisbury, Jr., NFCR CEO. “We have supported Dr. Von Hoff’s research efforts since 1985 and know he is an extraordinary man and gifted physician scientist whose research represents the future of medicine in which information gleaned from clinical cares can be used to guide research on new treatment development that target deadly tumors, giving new hope to cancer patients worldwide.”

This is Research for a Cure and Dr. Von Hoff is especially appreciative of NFCR. He has said: “[Early in my career,] my NIH grants kept getting turned down; I did not have any way to generate preliminary information and someone from NFCR walked into my office and said that after careful review I had been selected as a young investigator they wanted to support. I would like to say thank you to all of those who have given because it got me started in quite an adventure to try to make a difference for patients.”

Dr. Von Hoff has devoted his career to translational medicine – the movement of new therapies from the research institution to patient care.  In addition to this recent selection, he was honored with the Scripps Genomic Medicine Award in 2011, named one of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 50 Oncology Luminaries in 2014 and among the first class selected in 2013 by the American Association for Cancer Research for its Fellows of the AACR Academy.

von-hoffDr. Von Hoff and his colleagues have conducted early clinical investigations of many new cancer agents, including: gemcitabine, docetaxel, paclitaxel, topotecan, irinotecan, fludarabine, mitoxantrone, dexrazoxane, nab-paclitaxel, vismodegib, and others. These treatments are helping many patients with breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, leukemia, advanced basal cell and pancreatic cancers today.

Reflecting on his 30 year journey with NFCR, Dr. Von Hoff said, “Cancer researchers often receive funding from a number of sources, including the federal government, but the most important money we receive for cancer research comes from the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Without NFCR’s support, some of my research would never have gotten off the ground.”

NFCR is proud to have provided $4.67 million for Dr. Dan Von Hoff’s research that directly and indirectly resulted in many clinically high-impact new therapies which have saved hundreds and thousands of people’s lives.

About the Giants of Cancer Care Award
Now in its fourth year, the Giants of Cancer Care recognition program honors those who have devoted their time, talent and resources to improving care for patients and families who are affected by cancer. Their discoveries have propelled the field forward and established the building blocks for future advances. Recipients demonstrate the qualities of unlimited selflessness, compassion for their patients, and a desire to understand and develop life-changing treatments.  In 2016, a Selection Committee of 80+ eminent oncologists will chose 10 honorees from 10 different tumor types and specialty categories.

About NFCR’s Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies

At the NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies at TGen, Co-Directors Dr. Daniel Von Hoff and Dr. Laurence Hurley are pioneering new approaches to attack the so-called “undruggable” targets present in many tumors.

The Center is also embarking on an entirely new approach to developing drugs that block newly-recognized genetic structures called “super enhancers.” This approach may lead to great improvements in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, colorectal cancer and other cancers.

About National Foundation for Cancer Research

NFCR was founded in 1973 to support cancer research and public education relating to the prevention, early diagnosis, better treatments and ultimately, a cure for cancer.  NFCR promotes and facilitates collaboration among scientists to accelerate the pace of discovery from bench to bedside.  NFCR is committed to Research for a Cure – cures for all types of cancers.

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CFC – Combined Federal Campaign

NFCR_CFC CFC combined federal campaign logo

It’s never too soon to think about the Combined Federal Campaign CFC annual fall drive. If you’d like to volunteer to help us spread the word contact Elaine here or call 301-654-1250

Our 5 digit code is 11267     Our EIN is 04-253 1031

The National Foundation for Cancer Research has been a long standing active charity on the CFC.  We work diligently to insure that seed funding reaches promising, incredibly hard working cancer research scientists. And, If you are a federal employee of  Asian American descent, or have friends who are, please refer them to a presentation by Dr. Sujuan Ba and check out for yourself, NFCR’s cancer prevention tips within her slideshow presentation. These cancer prevention tips are universal in value.

Donations via CFC help. We have a Science Advisory Board (SAB) that insures the most promising work gets funding. We track and highlight their results in our annual report and news updates. This SAB is also responsible for the coveted annual award of the Albert Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research

Here’s last year’s snapshot of our page on your CFC Charity Finder Page:

NFCR approved CFC listing

As a leading charity driving donations to #Research4aCure NFCR knows how painstakingly difficult this work is.

We are so proud that the CFC has been allowing Federal employees to direct funds to cancer research charities since our earliest days. Your parents donations are what delivered the breakthroughs that you hear about today. These terms you see in the news, like moonshot, precision medicine and genome (gene) sequencing start in laboratories like the ones we fund. The money you donate today can see results that will help your children and grandchildren in the future.

Speaking of kids, NFCR has a signature program called Play4TheCure  This is a program that promotes teamwork and youth sports to raise funds for research. Parents and kids can organize their team to dedicate a single game or a whole season to raising awareness and funds for Research. The kids can only do so much – so give us a call if you’d like to organize a game for your group.

We also have specific designation programs you might want to consider in or outside of the CFC:

Honor and Remember                  Donate a no longer needed car

Thank you for your consideration and support.

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