Dr. Michael Wargovich: Cancer Prevention Starts with Your Eating Habits
Aside from being a professor in molecular medicine and a senior researcher in cancer prevention, Dr. Michael Wargovich is also an entrepreneur for a startup company called CanSurvive Cuisine.
Dr. Wargovich met his current business partner Chef Iverson Brownell through a mutual friend. They found common interest in natural food, and immediately decided they will start a business together.
In 2012, CanSurvive Cuisine, LLC was formed. The mission of the company is to improve the health of the community through education in culinary medicine. CanSurvive integrated scientific knowledge of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds with innovative culinary implementation to curate meal plans and recipes.
This idea has helped many cancer survivors and health conscious clients with fighting cancer cell formation.
Due to the adoption of western life style and diet, “developing countries are on trajectory to have massive amount of cancer in their population as they give up their traditional way of living and traditional diet.”
Proven from his research findings, “traditional way of eating in other parts of the world are loaded with natural anti-inflammatory compounds” which are the key to the prevention of colon and other cancers.
Dr. Wargovich’s laboratory uses cancer cell lines and animal models to investigate natural and synthetic agents that may inhibit the development of cancer. The main focus of the research is on the chemoprevention—a discipline that embraces the idea that cancer or precancer can be inhibited by the use of natural compounds or pharmaceuticals.
“Cancer is not a death sentence, there are many other opportunities to deflect it along the way” said Dr. Wargovich, also a professor at UT Health San Antonio.
He has over 30 years of experience in cancer research.
One of the interesting findings from his research is the Neem tree that was discovered on his trip to India. The bark and twigs of the tree are used to make natural toothbrushes, however, the tree itself is rich in anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Dr. Wargovich and his team discovered that “the neem tree is not only an inflammatory, but it can prevent mouth cancer and colon cancer.”
Along with his research, Dr. Wargovich and Amelie G. Ramirez conducted a six-month trial with 165 breast cancer survivors to test whether an anti-inflammatory diet made a difference in blood markers on the patients.
The result was unexpected, “the group with the intervention significantly lowered the inflammation markers and lost weight, and the participants loved the idea of changing diet to enhance surviving cancer” Dr. Wargovich said.
“It’s in your hands to take control of getting chronic diseases” he said.
One wellness advice he has to the reader is that, “sugar is the biggest villain out there, it’s the most preferential fuel for cancer cell, and it also contributes to inflammation. Be conscious of sugar intake in your meals.”
This article was written by Yi-Ting Chung, communications intern at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health San Antonio. Chung is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration at The University of Texas at San Antonio.