It's Bill Couzens here from Less Cancer. Today we're at the National Cancer Prevention Workshop on Capitol Hill and with us is Miles O'Brien, our chairman of Less Cancer. He has been a board member for at least a decade and he is our fearless leader. Miles, welcome. Bill, it's a pleasure and congratulations on an epic National Cancer Prevention Workshop. This surpasses everything you've done by probably an order of magnitude. It's amazing. The breadth and depth is stunning. This just wouldn't happen without you. We appreciate your participation. Yeah, just take that on board. Thank you. You have demonstrated tremendous leadership over the past more than a decade now. I just want to say, I've had the opportunity to see just a small bit of this, the tip of the iceberg. What I've seen was really Number 1, very groundbreaking. Number 2, an assemblage of some of the leading experts in their fields and it's also just brought forth in a very engaging way that can really bring the public along on this discussion, which is what after all Less Cancer is all about; bringing this discussion to the floor. I got to tell you, I remember when we talked some months ago about the subject of breast cancer and alcohol consumption. I had just read a little article in a journal and said, this might be a topic for you, and that panel just blew me away. There were so many things I didn't know, so many things I learned and I highly recommend everybody who is listening to us now, to watch that panel and learn. It's very important. Dr. Priscilla Martinez of the Alcohol Research Group, who is one of the leading researchers in this group, was the moderator. She brought together this group of people which were amazing: Dr. Peggy Reynolds, epidemiologist, Ritu Aneja, who is a distinguished professor of cancer biology at Georgia State University, Raimee Eck, who is the former co-chair of the Maryland Public Health Association, also an epidemiologist, Dr. Sharima Rasanayagam. I apologize, Dr. Sharima. All of them, leading experts in their field. Here are the things that got me. First of all, only 25 percent of women are aware that alcohol is a risk factor when it comes to breast cancer. Many of them are aware of the genetic possibilities, and I think this goes to a theme we've talked about a lot, Bill. People assume that there's a genetic predisposition to cancer and either they won the lottery or they didn't, and there's not much they can do to live their lives, to change their lives. That really is not true at all and that is something that you have helped brought forward, that you're not just stacked genetically to get cancer or not. How you live your life, how you're exposed environmentally to chemicals, whether you exercise, all these things are so important, aren't they? Absolutely Miles. We can make a big difference in a lot of health and as you know, when we work to prevent cancer, we in turn work to prevent many other diseases, from diabetes, obesity, you name it. We have a role in it and sometimes there are things that we can or cannot do. The tools for public health, which are a bit unique, from health care tools can step in to help all; public health is for all. Sometimes that's where policies command. Certainly that's where education comes in. One of the things that really struck me is, 10 grams of alcohol a day, what's 10 grams? Well, a five ounce glass of wine contains 14 grams of alcohol. We're talking about less than a glass of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women. There are all kinds of factors at play here. It's a natural carcinogen, it increases estrogen levels, it blocks folic acids, which are extremely important in preventing cancer. The truth is, there's really no "safe level" of alcohol. Now we all know we're not going to eradicate that glass of wine after a long hard day here. But the takeaway you've got to remember here is that, you need to drink less for your breasts, women, it's very important. That is so on target with your message with Less Cancer, we live in the real world, we have risk factors. That first sip of wine is technically a risk, but you have to be aware of it. That's the important thing. Absolutely, Miles. We have seen not only breast cancer, but alcohol's being connected to several other kinds of cancer; pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, [inaudible], lots of different cancers. I'm not the expert on it by far, but there are things that we can do to tap down on these cancer risks. As so often happens, this happens just about every year, I meet somebody or find a subject which I ultimately turn into a story on the news hour, so you can expect something on this coming up, because I was just totally blown away at how little I knew about it and how much I want to learn about it. Another subject, speaking of stories that ultimately came on, is the subject of perfluorinated chemicals, PFOS, PFAS, PFOA, and the great Rob Bilott, who we're honored to have as our board member. How many people can say they have changed the world, really? Rob Bilott has changed the world. These things that have been used with such ubiquity they're in 98 percent of humans, we call them forever chemicals because they stay with us, and they are known carcinogens. The company that made these things which have been waterproof devices, fire-retardant, Teflon, DuPont, knew about it since 1988 that it caused cancer and was just dumping it in the water. Horrible story, nobody knew about it. If it weren't for his efforts, and here he came in as a corporate lawyer. He wasn't a plaintiff's lawyer, he wasn't an ambulance chaser. He was on the other side of these things, and becomes a absolute crusader for getting the world to know that this is a risk. I'm so not worthy to be on the same board with him. You know what I mean? No, that's so true. I always especially honor people that ask questions that aren't in the field of science, or toxicology, or any of those things. I highly recommend you listen to this discussion between Bill and Rob, it was great. The takeaway for me is, here we are, 20 years after he initially began this case. The EPA were just in the early stages of beginning to regulate this in drinking water at a federal level. The good news is some states, Michigan among them, Michigan had the experience with Flint, so they're very sensitive to this, thank God. The states are actually taking action on this to regulate this particular chemical in their drinking water supplies. I did a story in New Hampshire, Pease Air Force Base, now closed. They used all this foam, this AFFF, which is a firefighting foam filled with PFAS for years and years, got in the water system. They put in a very elaborate filtering system, so the water there presumably is safe now. That's what you're going to see ahead in this country as localities and hopefully, the EPA will get on board, change the rules so we can get the PFAS at least out of our drinking water. But as Rob points out, it's in cosmetics, it's in turnout gear for firefighters, it's all over the place, and so there are other battles to fight here. You get the sense that, it's one step forward, two steps back, when it comes to something like this, doesn't it? Absolutely. Since you brought it up, I do want to thank representatives Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton, both from Michigan, both sponsors of National Cancer Prevention day and the National Cancer Prevention Workshop, and key chairs for the United States bipartisan congressional caucus on cancer prevention. Several years ago, as you may recall, Miles, when Rob first spoke at that, he talked about what we were able to do to make change. I'm proud to say both Fred and Debbie have legislation out there to help mitigate and protect the Great Lakes right now, which is really a big struggle, it's our largest source of fresh water. I'm so proud that our work and their work are working together to resolve this for our home state of Michigan. For those who may not know, both Miles and I are from Michigan. The Great Lakes, while they're important to the world, are especially important to us. I'm proud of the work that they're doing. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sidetrack. No, but as for Rob, check out his book, Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer's 20-year Battle Against DuPont, of course Dark Waters, the feature film. He's the only board member I know of on Less Cancer who is played by Mark Ruffalo, that's for sure. There's a documentary as well. It's a story which is worth becoming familiar with. As he said, it's been an incredible journey, he's staying on it, and most importantly, he's constantly pushing to get this information out to the public. Watch this interview with Bill, it'll get you engaged and make you understand how one person can change the world, and that's important to remember for all of us. Absolutely. The other one I loved was Tabitha Brown. Wow, Tab time. She's amazing. Oh my God. She's great Positive energy. This is a woman who was not feeling well, headaches, she's just miserable, led to depression, anxiety, panic. She was really in a downward spiral. Her daughter came home, speaking of documentary, she had seen a documentary called What the Health, which got into questions of what we're putting in our bodies, what we eat. This idea that what we eat is really important, I don't think we grew up really fully appreciating that, right, Bill? For her, it was this light bulb moment. She said, "You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to try a 30-day vegan challenge." Within 10 days, no more headache. It was all gone. She is now four and a half years later, and she's a really brilliant communicator sharing the benefits of veganism. Veganism isn't for everybody, but it really makes you think about what we put in our bodies, right? Well, for sure in a plant based diet. She always says that's your business, but she's church. Listen, I cook with her, I checked out her recipes, we talk about a couple recipes when I interviewed her. She's energizing, she's so positive, and she's really made a shift with mainstream America in my belief in food choices, that there are healthier things that people can be reaching for. She's energetic and fun. I'm so proud to have her be part of this, and she's a great influencer. An influencer for me as well. I'm glad that she was part of this event. There is an interesting demographic component. She is a African American woman, and she said when she first thought about veganism, she said, "Oh I thought that's what white people did." Which was not very funny. She grew up in North Carolina. Literally, her grandfather would fry a possum for her. No joke. Her background in food was fried food culturally, exactly what you would expect. I think what's great about her is she's reaching a very broad audience with a message that is so important about what you put in your body has consequences down the road. I don't think we thought about this when we were young at all. No. As far as public health went in my house growing up, it was all about washing your hands. Still an important thing, especially today with COVID, but we didn't really understand the impacts of food. But in the '60s when we were small children, they didn't have the kind of food that they have today. So we are much more mindful of the food that's grown out of the garden, things that are less processed. The thing about Tabitha is that she's done an extraordinary job of making it fun, making it normal, it's not punitive, it's not like you should be eating, she's very cool about this is your business, very approachable, she's a genius messenger. I can't say enough great things about her. Norman, you've had this experience, you go out to dinner with a vegan, and that's all you end up talking about because that's all they want to talk about. It drives me crazy. She's not that person. Check her out, check out this conversation. You guys had a lot of fun together. It was fun, I really enjoyed it. Then there's a book in the mix here that you've got to read, John Whyte, who is the Chief Medical Officer at WebMD now, he was at Discovery. Jann Balmer had a nice conversation with him, I thought, and his book, which is called Take Control Of Your Cancer Risk. It's a great book, it's very accessible, very much written in lay terms. I had my numbers wrong. I thought it was roughly 50 percent genetic causes, 50 percent environmental causes for cancer, it's actually wrong. That's 70 percent environmental causes and lifestyle issues. He's a doctor obviously, and he says, which is so interesting to me, doctors do not talk to their patients about what to eat relative to cancer. If they have diabetes, they might have this conversation. But they don't say, "Oh, you really should think about avoiding fried foods or maybe a little less alcohol, a little less processed sugar because that does affect your cancer risk. I've never had a doctor tell me that, have you? That's unusual. It doesn't happen. No. It doesn't. It's funny that you bring that up because yesterday when I was speaking to Dr. Karen Wakefield, an amazing physician advocate. When I've spoken in medical schools, I ask those students to take care of their communities, to be a voice for their community. Because everyday folks like myself don't know how to trust the information. They are the people with the science, health, and medical backgrounds that can help unfold that, they are the very ones that can help keep you out of a doctor's office. So their voices are critical. When we find a health care provider that can help locally guard their communities in that way it's incredibly powerful. He had a couple turns of phrase, which I loved. He said, "Think about food as medicine." Latch on to that, food is medicine. His other one that I liked a lot, he says, "Physical activity is like a magic pill." Three times a week, you work yourself up 30-minutes at a time, to a sweat, that's all he's talking about. We're not talking about doing Iron Man stuff. Something that I've been very guilty up until recently, I've been trying to change it, more sleep. You've got to have good sleep. It really is important. What's that famous words, Yvonne, "I'll sleep when I'm dead thing." I'm always stunned by that. It's really wrong. If you don't sleep, you will be dead. Anyways. Then finally, this was the thing I thought was really interesting. There's so much of a component of this. It is built around stress, and anxiety, and our outlook on life. People who have a better outlook on life are healthier. We know that. There's plenty of research on that. He said, "Write a gratitude journal every day.'' Write down one thing you're grateful for. What a great idea. I'm going to start doing that, by the way. Believe it or not, as a journalist, you'd think I journal. I don't journal much. I think, I need to start. In your head, you do. You are very grateful person. I, on that front, for years have been setting an alarm at noon, that is a reminder to take a breath and be grateful for everything, but very specific things that I think about. How my day went? Where I'm going? Who I was able to connect with? It doesn't happen every day. Some days, I'm too worldly trying to put out fires, and it's hard too. But even on those days where it's so much chaos, stopping for just one second to take a personal inventory and offer gratitude for that, it's helpful personally for me. I have no medical training, but it's so helpful in what I do. Well, I am grateful for you, Bill Couzens. My friend of, how long has it been? I don't know? I don't even say. My friend of 58-years. Is that ridiculous or what? I'm grateful for the good work you've done at Less Cancer, in honor of your late sister, and in honor of my late sister, and actually a lot of other people in our families who we've lost. We don't have to accept all of that as just part of life. That's what I like about you. You said, ''This doesn't have to be the way we live.'' One person can make a change, that's you. I'm proud of you. I'm so proud of what this organization has become and this workshop is just what a body of work. You're doing this with two people, some paperclips, and duct tape. I don't know how you pull it all together, but you've done a great job. I am just thrilled to be a part of it and just to see it grow the way it has. It's been a ton of fun. Super exciting. Miles, I know that you have, like all of us have been through the cancer journey. It's tough and people often will say, "Are you ever afraid of cancer?" I was like, "Hell, no.'' Because we've got so many great solutions out there. We have solutions to turn the tide, prevention by far is the best cure for cancer, there's no better cure than preventing that. I do want to say, there's so little that I actually do along this. The work for Less Cancer started in 2003. This workshop is about a decade old. Over the years, people have stepped on board with very little convincing, excited to be part of it. The fact that we've got 70 speakers this year is amazing. The fact that we have legislators lining up from both sides of the facts is amazing. I think, we have 16 or 17 legislators participating this year. They're excited to be part of it, they're important, and they walk away being able to make better educated decisions about policy, and we're also better able to help healthcare providers care for their communities. This really happens with global help. People have been so great about stepping on and saying, "Yeah, we're on board with us." It's been a great thing to see. Well, it may be the last bipartisan issue in Washington, but you're right there in the middle of it. I invite you all. It's a lot, you don't have to do it all in one sitting. But watch, and learn, and by all means, join us in being a part of the solution.