Actress Fran Drescher Leads Summit Urging Focus on Cancer Prevention

By Elena Epstein

health - Cancer Schmancer

Naturopath and author Sharyn Winters, “Cures from the Kitchen” author Nena Niessen and Helene Henderson of Malibu Farms, left to right, discuss healthy eating at the summit. PHOTOS COURTESY CANCER SCHMANCER WOMEN’S HEALTH SUMMIT

She is best known for her humor and signature voice, but actress Fran Drescher is using her star power to raise awareness about potentially cancer-causing toxins in our food, cosmetics and cleaning supplies.

Drescher, a cancer survivor and comic actress best known for hit TV series “The Nanny,” hosted the inaugural Cancer Schmancer Women’s Health Summit at Oct. 13 at Skirball Cultural Center. The day-long conference included panel discussions on nutrition, breast cancer, toxins in cosmetics and detoxing your home, and featured experts from the Environmental Working Group, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Pink Lotus Breast Center, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Hadassah’s Sharett Institute of Oncology.

Drescher was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2000 and had a radical hysterectomy as part of her treatment.  She later wrote the best-selling book CancerSchmancer to share her story, and has since become a vocal advocate for early cancer detection and preventive measures including healthy eating, exercise, stress reduction and eliminating toxins from household and personal-care products.

“Whose life is this?” Drescher asked the packed audience at the summit. “You have to be pro-active, know the early warning signs, know what’s in the food you eat, the lotion you put on every day, the products you clean your house with.”

The panel of experts urged audience members to begin taking simple steps to reduce their exposure to potentially cancer causing toxins in everyday products. Their advice included:

  • Look under the sinks in your kitchen and bathroom and start swapping chemical-laden cleaning products with more environmentally friendly alternatives. And don’t forget that natural products such vinegar, baking soda and lemon are also great for cleaning.
  • Switch your toothpaste, makeup, sunblock, shampoo, nail polish and moisturizers with versions that are free from harmful preservatives and chemicals. For a comprehensive look at products to avoid, visit the Environmental Working Group’s website,
  • Eat a wide variety of non-processed, nutritious food with a focus on organic vegetables and fruits.
  • Stay active. Just 11 minutes of brisk walking a day lowers your chances of cancer.

For more information on Drescher and her cancer awareness movement, go to

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