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Dorothy Hamill's and Patrick Swayze's Cancer Battles Raise Prevention Awareness

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And in a new Cancer Project public service announcement, Olympic figure skater and breast cancer survivor Dorothy Hamill encourages people to eat a plant-based diet to protect themselves from the deadly disease. Several other new Cancer Project resources also demonstrate how a low-fat, vegetarian diet fights breast cancer and other forms of the disease.

Dorothy Hamill PSA

In the print public service announcement, Hamill explains, “Your body is an instrument of expression—and mine still has a lot to say.” She also advises readers to download the Cancer Project’s The Cancer Survivor’s Guide and put healthy foods to work fighting cancer.

In 2007, Dorothy, who has been inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame and the Figure Skating Hall of Fame, was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she recovered and has returned to skating.

The Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS) has shown that breast cancer survivors like Dorothy who cut their fat intake and increase their fruit and vegetable intake reduce their recurrence rate by 24 percent. For survivors with estrogen-receptor-negative tumors, the reduction is 42 percent.

Good nutrition also plays a significant role in preventing pancreatic cancer, which recently took the life of actor Patrick Swayze, who starred in the hit movies Dirty Dancing and Ghost.

According to a new study, fat from red meat and dairy products significantly increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. But one study found that consuming foods rich in flavonoids—apples, grapefruit, broccoli, and berries—may decrease pancreatic cancer risk by up to 59 percent.

To spread the word about how plant-based diets promote cancer prevention and survival, the Cancer Project recently introduced two new resources.

The second edition of Healthy Eating for Life: Food Choices for Cancer Prevention and Survival includes such sections as “Food Choices for Cancer Prevention and Survival,” “Building Your Strength Against Cancer,” “Surviving Cancer,” and “Making Healthy Diet Changes,” as well as recipes and references.

And the new Educational Alliance Program offers organizations and institutions support to bring the message of the value of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival to their communities. The program offers exclusive access to The Cancer Project’s innovative resources and a proven nutrition education and cooking class curriculum to incorporate into their institutions’ existing programs, classes, or service offerings.

To view Dorothy Hamill’s PSA, download free copies of The Cancer Survivor’s Guide and Healthy Eating for Life, and to learn more about the Educational Alliance Program, visit


PCRM Online, October 2009

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