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Michael Landon’s Daughter Speaks Out About Cancer

At the age of 8, Jennifer Landon lost her father, Michael Landon, to cancer. Now Jennifer, an Emmy Award-winning actress in her own right, is speaking out about the disease that took her father’s life in a new The Cancer Project television spot.

Jennifer LandonIn the 30-second public service announcement, which features family photographs and video clips, Jennifer explains that she remembers her dad, who starred in such hit shows as Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Highway to Heaven, as a particularly strong man. His health, she recalls, seemed perfect. But then he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “Three months later, my dad, Michael, died,” Jennifer explains.

“Today we know a lot about preventing cancer,” Jennifer tells viewers. “If you smoke, quit. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Have more vegetarian and vegan meals. These steps are powerful—for you and your whole family.”

At least one-third of annual cancer deaths in the United States are due to dietary factors. Increased fruit and vegetable consumption can reduce cancer risk, but fewer than one-third of U.S. adults eat fruit at least two times a day, and only about 27 percent eat vegetables at least three times daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The China Study has shown that people on low-fat, plant-based diets have strikingly low cancer rates.

In January, to provide step-by-step advice for adopting healthful diets like these, The Cancer Project released its new book, The Cancer Survivor’s Guide: Foods that Help You Fight Back! The book offers tips for increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains and avoiding fatty, fiber-deficient foods such as meat and dairy products, which have been linked to increased cancer risk. There are also more than 130 delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, including Texas “Caviar” and Latin Seitan Stew.

“Bringing this groundbreaking information to the general public can prevent other families from suffering the same loss mine has,” said Jennifer. A three-time Emmy winner for her dual roles as Gwen Norbeck and Cleo Babbitt on the daytime drama As the World Turns, Jennifer began her professional acting career at the age of 5, when she was cast in the final episodes of Highway to Heaven.

To watch “Cancer Prevention for Your Family” and order a copy of The Cancer Survivor’s Guide, visit


PCRM Online, March 2009

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