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Does your heredity dictate whether you get cancer?

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Jan 28, 2011

I saw my friend Glenn at the gym yesterday, hadn’t seen him in a long time. He’s a former BYU Marriott School of Management colleague (he’s still there–I’M former). His daughter has been Tennyson’s girlfriend since first grade even though they broke up for a few months in fourth grade when he decided she was “bossy.” Their only kiss was once when my kids and I were at Glenn and Angela’s house: Anna wrestled Tennyson to the ground and managed to fire one off on the top of his head.

I stopped to chat with him about Ten at the biggest game in Marriott Center history the night before–when Jimmer Fredette scored 43 points to help BYU beat #4 ranked San Diego State. I’d asked Ten, “What do you think it feels like to hear a sold-out crowd chanting, ‘YOU GOT JIMMERED!'” And Ten shrugged and nonchalantly said, “I dunno. I’ll tell you in a few years.”

(LOL! Maybe some “bossy” could do the kid some good!)

So Glenn said to me, “Hey, I’ve got a bone to pick with you! My wife went to your class last week and now I’m eating all this weird stuff! Green drinks! Seriously?!”

I said, “It’ll do you some good! Now you’re tenured, life is good–stick around for a while to meet all your grandkids and travel the world!” Glenn shook his head and said, no, my family is LOADED for cancer. All his grandfathers dead in their 50’s. (Interpretation: I’m screwed.)

I hear this a lot. It’s defeatist. I believe the China Study documents for us that risk factors we can do nothing about are only a small piece of the puzzle. Cancer is far from a foregone conclusion, even if your family, like mine and Glenn’s, has a lot of cancer. That is, it’s not foregone if you’re willing to change your diet and lifestyle.

My dad didn’t even wear a mask, spraying MALATHION in his grandfather’s cherry orchards as a teen and young adult. Sometimes he got accidentally sprayed full in the face, by his brother, with that deadly pesticide banned long ago in the U.S.! Why does my nearly-70 father still run 4 miles a day and has no cancer or any other health problem? (And his brother DOES have cancer.) I theorize it’s his long history of a 95% plant-based diet. My parents do kefir, alkaline water, grow their own produce, and eat very little sugar/white flour.

Campbell’s team injected groups of mice and rats with aflatoxin, a well known carcinogen. Only those who ate 20% animal protein got cancer. Those who ate 5% animal protein didn’t. (Remember, those eating 5% were injected with the deadly mold, too!)

Then his human study in China, tracking 6,500 people, showed very similar results. Those who ate 20% animal protein (like the average American) gained weight and acquired the modern diseases. The usual suspects: cancer, heart disease, auto-immune diseases. Those eating meat “sparingly” (5%) were lean even if they ate 200 calories per day MORE than meat eaters–and they didn’t get diseases.

In the rodent studies, the researchers switched the diets and watched fat, cancerous mice switched to a low-animal-protein diet get lean and TUMORS SHRUNK AND OFTEN DISAPPEARED.

My point? There’s always hope. Starting now, you can radically change your health. (I love repentance. Don’t you?)

Posted in: Nutrition, Research, Whole Food

9 thoughts on “Does your heredity dictate whether you get cancer?”

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  1. Anonymous says:


    I know you’ve talked about MALATHION before, so I looked it up. Now I am wondering if you are remembering the wrong pesticide? The Wikipedia page on malathion says:

    1) “In the US, it is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide.”

    2) “Malathion is an insecticide of relatively low human toxicity.”


    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Katrina, LOL, I will respond to that in my next blog entry.

  2. don’t know your email address, but wanted to tell you…

    my family came down with an illness last weekend. i woke up sunday morning with a sore throat, achy body, and just not feeling well. i drink green smoothies almost daily. well, i vamped it up and drank almost an entire vitamix full of green smoothie throughout the day. by around 4 PM, i no longer ached and my sore throat was a ton better! now, i also did use my essential oils, took some emergen-c a few times, took a braggs apple cider vinegar bath. but whenever i find myself getting sick, i drink green smoothies like crazy! and i almost always get rid of whatever is in my system within 24 hours. on monday, i was pretty much better, with just a little bit of clear congestion.

    my husband, however, kept up with the essential oils, and emergen-c, and even took an apple cider vinegar bath. he did drink more green smoothie than normal, but not like i did. and he only did it for that one day… he is still suffering from his illness and not even feeling all that great today (friday).

    i attribute my success to the green smoothie. i really do. if i keep up with all of my remedies (especially the green smoothie), i really find that i’m rid of the illness for the most part within 24 hours. just thought i’d share! love my spinach, kale, collard smoothies!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I found your website about two months ago, have been drinking green smoothies every morning since, read the China Study, just ordered your 12 step program and am on my way to the best health of my life – in the year I turn 60! On another note, I just had to mention that I smiled a big smile reading your blog posting today. I couldn’t believe you mentioned Jimmer Fredette. I’m very proud to tell you that Jimmer is from my home town – Glens Falls, NY. He graduated high school with my youngest daughter. Go BYU. Go Jimmer!

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Jimmer’s aunt and uncle have a big sports web site and I’ve done a radio interview for them in the past…..they are coming into town on my bday in Feb. and I’ll be doing a video interview with them…..think they’ll hook my sons up with an opportunity to meet Mr. “Fredette-about-it?” (You’re supposed to say that with a New York accent like fuggetaboutit….it’s a BYU thing.) My oldest son looooooves how humble Jimmer is. What an incredible athlete he is. 43 points against a #4 ranked team, and he’s only 6’2″? AMAZING.

    2. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Oh, and Kathy? CONGRATS on the fabulous changes you’re making, much luck for your 60’s to be the healthiest decade of your life!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robyn, Thank you for all your hard work to get the message out. I have been drinking 1/2 gallon of green smoothies for a year now and have not been sick one single day. I have not been able to convince anyone else to give it a try but I keep marching along. I am working to change my diet to 80-20 raw and minimize animal meat and dairy. I plan to order your 12 step plan to help me with my next step. I have a friend with terrible lung cancer in both lungs and lymphnoids. I wish I could get her to try the smoothies but she won’t. It saddens me that there is real health out there and so many people don’t know. Our government should be spending our tax dollars on greens. 🙂

    I have a question and don’t know where else to ask it on your website. I have a large amount of spinach that was given to me and I will not be able to eat it all before it goes bad. What is the best way to freeze it? Most sites I have seen tell me to boil it first to kill the enzymes so that they won’t deteriorate the spinach. Killling the enzymes is what I don’t want to do. Help.

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Jeanne, congrats on your progress! Others will come around as they observe health changes in you and begin to trust that it’s a way of life for you rather than just a temporary health kick! Please don’t boil that spinach. Just wash it and bag it and freeze it. Killing enzymes is nuts.

  5. Robyn,

    I bought your book after my wife asked me what a Green Smoothies was. After it arrived I started in on making them every morning. It has only been two weeks but I am already feeling a difference. I read the China Study last year and even tried going vegan for a month, (it was really hard with out any guidance) I was raised much like Dr. Campbell and my family is “loaded” with cancer, my dad died when I was 16 mom has had 2 different types. I alway told my friends that it did not matter if I was more than a hundred pounds over weight cause I was going to die of cancer no matter what. Now with you and Dr. Campbell I have hope. I am drinking 2 quarts of green smoothie a day, I have talked my wife into 1 quart and my 5 kids are drinking as much as I will let them.


    I am looking forward to meeting you in Ogden in a few weeks.

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