Umberto Veronesi

Italian oncologist and politician (1925-2016)

Umberto Veronesi (28 November 19258 November 2016) was an Italian oncologist and politician, internationally known for his contributions on prevention and treatment of breast cancer throughout a career spanning over fifty years.

Umberto Veronesi



The First Day Without Cancer (2013)

The First Day Without Cancer: The Battles We Have Won, and Those We Will Win, originally published as Il primo giorno senza cancro, translated by Hidoko Fudemoto, New York: Open Road, 2013. ISBN 978-1-4804-4290-0
  • We have reached the conclusion that what we eat is responsible for a large number of tumors, and that certain foods trigger cancer while others have a protective value. Meat and its derivatives figure among carcinogenic foods of the intestines. Meat, in fact, is particularly rich in saturated fatty acids, substances that lead to damaging activity in regard to our bodies in general. Furthermore, certain forms of tumors, such as intestinal cancer, are directly correlated to the consumption of meat, while others, such as endometrial tumors, are linked to obesity.
  • We have to consider that the foods we ingest let a certain amount of soluble toxic substances dispersed in the environment into our bodies. These polluting substances are harmful if we breathe them in, but they are even more so if we ingest them. By consuming meat, we put ourselves precisely in that position, because such substances in the atmosphere fall back to Earth, and hence, onto the grass that, when eaten by cattle, introduces harmful substances into their adipose deposits and therefore into their flesh, and finally, onto our plates.
  • It should be remembered that the pharmacologic treatment of raised farm animals can cause damage to the health of anyone who eats their meat. For example, the antibiotics that are legally added to animal feed—with the objective of preventing infections—can cause a resistance to antibiotics in humans. That is to say, a selection of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotics can be transmitted from animals to man through food; and can thereby generate infections difficult to stop (at times fatal, as with salmonella).
  • Fruit and vegetables, instead, are foods extremely low in fats and high in fiber: by easing the passage of ingested food, they reduce the time of contact between possible carcinogens—present in our daily diet—with the walls of the intestines.
  • A vegetarian diet, by reason of its low content of saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and animal proteins, and its high concentrations of folic acids, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens—shown to be effective in inhibiting the growth or in promoting the regression of serious coronary pathologies—constitutes a barrier against a number of chronic degenerative diseases, cancer among them. And that is not all. Fruits and vegetables—besides contaminating us much less than some other foods—are troves of precious substances that enable the neutralization of carcinogenic agents and that 'dilute' the concentration of diseased cells and reduce their proliferation. All of these advantages, as well as many others, emerged from studies on populations in the last century.
  • Prevention is within reach of everyone. And here are recommendations: abstain from smoking, eat less, eat mostly vegetarian foods, an active mind and body, and follow individually designed early diagnostic regimens.
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