How To Avoid Cancer Part II


One of the cancers that may be most easily prevented with diet and lifestyle changes is colorectal cancer—cancer of the large intestine and rectum.

This is the fifth most common type of cancer and the third leading cause of death in the United States.

When you consider the number of people who are constipated, and the Frankenstein foods that people eat, this may not be so surprising.

Cancer is a systemic disease, which means that the whole system is over-burdened and toxic to the point that rogue cells take hold and develop their own “entity” within the body. Your food and your blood are hijacked to feed the new entity or tumor. Of course, the host eventually dies, and so does the new colony. It is one of the oddities of nature, considering that survival is the usual operating modality.

Unburdening your toxic load is one of your best defenses against this, and any other type of cancer. Studies indicate that eliminating highly processed meats, refined sugars and refined (white) grains such as wheat, white rice, and soy may lower risk. Maintaining a healthy weight is a factor, and eliminating refined starches and sugars would help with weight control.

In recent years red meat has been considered a risk factor, but a review of the history of human health and nutrition did not correlate, since humans have eaten higher meat diets in the past, with little historical evidence of cancer. Studies show that it is the preparation of meat that is a factor. Meat that is heavily browned on the surface and over-cooked increases risk. When meat is over-cooked the proteins and amino acids are broken down and can no longer be utilized in the body for repair and nutrition.

High protein intake overall was not associated with risk, but even seemed protective in some studies. Consumption of fish and poultry as alternatives to red meat showed some protection. Fish Oil supplementation seemed to decrease risk in women, but also decreased inflammation in both sexes, and therefore may be generally helpful.

Intake of fiber from fresh vegetables and whole fruits appear to be protective of other gastrointestinal issues such as constipation and diverticulitis. However, the high fiber supplementation theory for cancer protection has not borne out. Diets high in fruits and vegetables were associated with slightly lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Since certain vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, kale and brussel sprouts have sulfur compounds, which are necessary for PhaseII liver detoxification, these vegetables may have potential in cancer prevention for all types of cancer.

Inflammation appears to be an issue and intake of B vitamins that decrease inflammation, such as folate, are associated with lower risk. Naturally occurring folate is not the same as synthetic folic acid, and folate is what was found to lower cancer risk. Eggs are a good source, as well as dark green veggies such as kale, spinach and broccoli. Look for unfortified Brewer’s Yeast too. Brewers Yeast is also a good source of selenium, which was associated with a 50% reduction in colon cancer in one study.

Note that red meat contains B vitamins, and particularly the organ meat of the animal. The fact that we no longer consume the most nutritious parts of the animal may be one reason we see more colon cancer now than we did in past times when people did not waste any part of the animal. Organ meat was even considered a delicacy!

Alcohol is a risk, but the amount is not determined. High consumption definitely raises one’s risk, and alcohol metabolism will burn folate and other B vitamins. Whether two or less drinks per day are a risk is undetermined.

Evidence suggests that a high level of physical activity lowers risk, even when weight is not managed in normal ranges.

So, we can conclude that lifestyle and dietary changes can lower the risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, and may lower it significantly. Basic and common sense changes towards organic whole foods bring about generally improved health and vitality. The same smart choices are the key to colon health.

If your colon is not functioning well, see your health practitioner. A colonoscopy may check for risks, but it is not enough to prevent problems that could develop into cancer.

Dr. Anne Dunev, PhD
Naturopath (Practitioner of Natural Medicine),
Certified Nutritionist, and Certified Health Educator


Is Butter a Health Food?



100 years ago, when people flocked to cities to work in factories, they often became sick from lack of fresh food, clean water and sunshine. The cure was a stint in the country, nourished on farm foods and breathing the country air.  With Farmer’s Markets we now try to bring the farm to the city because live whole foods, grown and eaten seasonally, are still our best defense against disease. The development of chemical additives and dead, factory-made foods may turn out to be a greater health hazard than cigarettes. Consider the changes in the environment and the food supply just in the last 60 years since World War II.

But, let’s go back to a new discovery in the 1880’s that brought about a dramatic change in a staple food and how that is affecting us today and may even be contributing to cancer. Emperor Louis Napolean III offered a prize for anyone who could invent a substitute for butter, to be used by the lower classes and armed forces. French chemist Mege-Mouries took up the challenge and invented oleomargarine in the laboratory. Since it was white in color, and the addition of yellow coloring was banned in many countries, including the U.S., for almost 100 years, margarine did not intially threaten the dairy industry or the use of real butter in the marketplace. For example, it was not legal to sell colored margarine in Australia until the 1960’s.

In the mid 1880’s, margarine was taxed at 2 cents a pound in the United States, and in several states with big Dairy interests, legislators passed laws demanding the addition of pink coloring to make margarine unpalatable to consumers. 

In the 20th century, bootleg colored margarine became common and yellow coloring was sold separately so that people could make their own white margarine appear yellow. What happens when you ban a product? Human nature seems to demand that it become desirable.  So, despite added taxes, margarine did sell.

World War I brought strict rationing of dairy products, and margarine consumption increased enormously, both in the U.S. and Europe.

Originally margarine was made from beef fat, until hydrogenation of plant matter was developed. This makes the melting point of plant oils higher, so that you get a solid spread at room temperature and not a pool of oil for your toast. And herein lies the problem with margarine. Hydrogenation is a process that takes place in a chamber so that heat and pressure can be applied to the oil, along with a metal catalyst of nickel or palladium, to force hydrogen into the chains of fatty acids. This creates trans fats, which have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Newer methods of manufacturing have attempted to limit the risk of hydrogenation, but all spreads and margarines are still laboratory made, not natural foods. 

 My advice is always to stick to the nature-made when it comes to food. Real butter is a fat that also contains Vitamins A and D, Vitamins E and K, anti-oxidants, selenium, conjugated linoleic acid for lean muscles, iodine, and other factors essential for human health. 

Margarine contains no nutrients and has the same calories as butter. All fats have about 100 calories per tablespoon. Altered, laboratory made, adulterated foods are a giant science experiment. We don’t really know the effects of these foods. But we do know that we have far more heart disease and cancer, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes and the numbers keep growing. There appears to be an inverse relationship to the consumption of nature-made fats and heart disease. The more processed fats consumed the higher the rates of heart disease.

The first written reference to butter dates back to 4500, hammered on a limestone tablet that illustrated how butter was made. Humans have consumed butter as long as they have lived with domesticated animals, pre-dating farming and raising grains. There are many religious references to butter, both Biblical and Hindu. 

Taste test? No contest! Look for organic butter, as many synthetic hormones and petro-chemicals, such as might be in the feed of cattle, are fat-loving. Butter is truly a health food.

Should you worry about saturated fat? There is no proof that saturated fat (fat that is hard at room temperature) winds up in your arteries. Sugar is probably far more dangerous, because triglycerides are made from sugar, not fat. We really don’t know why some people have clogged arteries and others don’t. All the studies are inconclusive. We do know that some people who die from heart attacks have clear arteries on autopsy, while others, who die of other causes have completely clogged arteries but had no symptoms of heart disease. 

We also know that indigenous (native) people on local diets of animal or fish protein, fermented or raw dairy, natural fats and carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits had no Diabetes, Heart Disease or Cancer until they began eating the white man’s processed diet of white flour and white sugar. They also had no dental cavities or gum disease.

The French have one quarter the heart disease of Great Britain. With their low incidence of heart disease but high butter and cheese consumption, the French also enjoy great tasting food! 

By the way, ever wonder what shortening is? Often made from soybean or cottonseed oil, shortening is a hydrogenated fat that is used in baking because it is 100% fat. Butter and margarine are only 80% fat. It is called shortening because it “shortens” the gluten strands in bread, making the dough more elastic thus yielding a softer loaf. 

Nature-made fats are vital for human health and are referred to as “essential fatty acids”. Any nutrient that is vital for health is going to be cancer-protective, since human cells need the genuine, unprocessed fats for cellular metablolism, and they don’t need Frankenstein fats made in the laboratory.

In my next Health tip I will tell you more about food and lifestyle choices that may help protect you against cancer.

Dr. Anne Dunev
PhD, is a Naturopath (Practitioner of Natural Medicine),
Certified Nutritionist, and Certified Health Educator


Top 10 Prescription Drugs Linked to Violent and Homicidal Behavior


The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) recently published a study in the journal PLoS One naming these as the top 10…

10. Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) An antidepressant which affects both serotonin and noradrenaline, this drug is 7.9 times more likely to be associated with violence than other drugs.

9. Venlafaxine (Effexor) A drug related to Pristiq in the same class of antidepressants, both are also used to treat anxiety disorders. Effexor is 8.3 times more likely than other drugs to be related to violent behavior.

8. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) An antidepressant that affects serotonin (SSRI), Luvox is 8.4 times more likely than other medications to be linked with violence

7. Triazolam (Halcion) A benzodiazepine which can be addictive, used to treat insomnia. Halcion is 8.7 times more likely to be linked with violence than other drugs, according to the study.

6) Atomoxetine (Strattera) Used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Strattera affects the neurotransmitter noradrenaline and is 9 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to the average medication.

5) Mefoquine (Lariam) A treatment for malaria, Lariam has long been linked with reports of bizarre behavior. It is 9.5 times more likely to be linked with violence than other drugs.

4) Amphetamines: (Various) Amphetamines are used to treat ADHD and affect the brain’s dopamine and noradrenaline systems. They are 9.6 times more likely to be linked to violence, compared to other drugs.

3) Paroxetine (Paxil) An SSRI antidepressant, Paxil is also linked with more severe withdrawal symptoms and a greater risk of birth defects compared to other medications in that class. It is 10.3 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to other drugs.

2) Fluoxetine (Prozac) The first well-known SSRI antidepressant, Prozac is 10.9 times more likely to be linked with violence in comparison with other medications.

1) Varenicline (Chantix) The anti-smoking medication Chantix affects the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, which helps reduce craving for smoking. Unfortunately, it’s 18 times more likely to be linked with violence compared to other drugs — by comparison, that number for Xyban is 3.9 and just 1.9 for nicotine replacement.

Dr. Lisa Benest is a medical and cosmetic dermatologist in Burbank, CA.  She and her staff provide comprehensive skin examinations as well as an array of non-invasive, cosmetic procedures and offer a full line of skin care products.  To learn more about how to take care of your skin as well as the most up-to-date treatments in skin care, schedule a Free Consultation with their cosmetic nurse.

Lisa Benest M.D.
1624 W. Olive #B
Burbank, CA


by Lisa Benest, MD


Insects don’t only cause those itchy, unrelenting bites, but they are also responsible for transmitting disease, such as malaria, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and West Nile virus.  Even the bubonic plague is transmitted by rat fleas, and not the rats themselves.  Many nations, over the centuries, have sought a solution for repelling insects.  The Indian Army used oils of citronella, camphor and paraffin as repellents.  These agents had limited efficacy and so better solutions were sought.  In 1953 N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET, was discovered.  As reports of insect borne disease increase, so does the use of DEET, and with it comes an increase in reports of adverse effects.

DEET does not kill insects, but confuses their sense of smell, so that they cannot detect the carbon dioxide emitted from our breath when we exhale.  Insects use the scent of carbon dioxide to find their next meal.  DEET does not need to be applied to the skin.  To fend off those buzzy predators, it is best to wear long sleeves and pants, whenever possible, and apply the DEET to the clothing, to minimize exposure to this neurotoxic chemical.  DEET is particularly harmful to infants and children, where it has been known to cause headaches, slurred speech, tremors and seizures.  DEET inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetylcholinesterase, in both insects and mammals (humans).  The possibility of these side effects is greatly increased with routine and prolonged application of DEET.  The most common exposure to DEET is via the skin, but it is also absorbed through the gut.

There are a number of effective, less toxic insect repellents on the market.  They primarily use essential oils and are less effective than DEET, and so have to be applied more often.  You can also make your own repellent, a recipe is provided below.

To make your outdoors less hospitable to mosquitoes, you can use a yellow light bulb, which does not attract flying critters.  Also, use a fan to blow the air, as mosquitoes are not strong flyers.  Add insect repelling plants such as lemon balm, citronella, catnip, marigolds, basil and lemon geraniums to your yard.  You can encourage mosquito predators, such as dragonflies, which can be purchased through the mail.

And if you do get bit, try the homeopathic pellets Apis Mellifica under the tongue to reduce the symptoms of welting and itching.

Homemade Insect Repellent Recipe:

Mix 10-25 drops of essential oils, such as citronella, lemon eucalyptus, cinnamon, rose geranium, lavender, peppermint, with either 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (such as olive oil) or alcohol (vodka is best).  Rub or spray onto skin or clothing.  Some people are sensitive to certain essential oils, so you will have to experiment with what works best.  Keep in a dark glass jar, away from light and heat.

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Health Tips: Your Mood on Food


When you eat may have a great effect on your weight and mood. Here are the rules for timing your meals.

1)     Always eat breakfast. Your blood sugar should go down at night from fasting during the sleeping hours and you should want to eat in the morning. If you cannot face bacon and eggs, try plain organic yogurt with fruit and nuts. If you like your yogurt sweet, add plain or flavored Stevia. Stevia is a South American herb that tastes sweet but is not sugar and has no calories. Look for flavors like chocolate, orange, hazelnut and vanilla cream. A shake made with Whey or rice protein or a nutritious shake powder is another alternative. Eggs are better than oatmeal for stabilizing blood sugar and carrying you through to lunch. Any healthy food you enjoy can be eaten at breakfast. Try smoked salmon or lox straight or chopped in scrambled eggs, for a change. Smoked salmon can be enjoyed carb-free, with fresh lemon juice sprinkled on, and capers on the side. Nut butters spread on celery or apples are another carb-free choice.

2)     Skip bread for lunch. The all-American sandwich is making almost all Americans obese, it seems. Bread at lunch can also give you a blood sugar crash at 3-4 p.m. that will leave you sleepy and lethargic and have reaching for coffee and carbohydrate-loaded snacks. Try lettuce wraps for sandwiches, switch to gluten-free bread if you are not over weight and get at least moderate exercise. Eat salad and a protein source to lose weight, and feel bright all afternoon. Dress the salad with an olive oil dressing, mixed with lemon juice or vinegar and flavored with herbs of choice. Most bottled dressings are made with unhealthy oils, such as Canola, Soybean, or other type of processed oils. Processed oils should be avoided completely and only virgin, raw oils are healthy.

3)     Dinner should be eaten before 8 p.m. If you work late, eat protein and/or fat for a snack.  Carbs like bread or crackers will convert quickly to sugar and then get stored as fat. Try plain organic yogurt sweetened with Stevia (no calorie natural herbal sweetener) and sprinkled with raw nuts for crunch. Have celery or an apple with a small amount of nut butter.

4)     Try skipping all bread and grain products (and skip sugar) for a week and see how you different you feel. You may experience a lighter mood, increased energy, and less aches or pains. Add a good quality fish oil product and increase slowly until you are taking 6 capsules a day for a few weeks.  You also may find out that you are much easier to get along with when your blood sugar is stable.  Don’t be surprised if your co-workers start checking your lunch bag or having salads delivered to you. Life may look brighter if you are not serving it up between two slices of bread.

Anne Dunev, PhD
Naturopath (Doctor of Natural Medicine),
Certified Nutritionist & Certified Health Educator.


Fishing for Compliments



Dr. Anne Dunev is a Naturopath and Certified Nutritionist who works in our offices. This article regarding the importance of fish oil in our diets is one that I found very interesting. I hope you will as well. 

Fishing for Compliments
by Dr. Anne Dunev, PhD

In our office we recommend fish oil supplements for many of our patients. When I had a practice in Ketchum, Idaho, I could barely keep fish oil caps on the shelf. Because of the dryness at that altitude, dry skin is a big factor. Dry skin equals discomfort and early wrinkles. Once a woman started on fish oil supplements, she would come back and buy more for her mother, daughter and friends.

With our current fat-phobia, fish oil supplements are a great way to add a controlled amount of fat into the diet comfortably. I am a big proponent of good fats, and I think that many of our current chronic disease conditions would improve drastically if we flipped our eating around to include plenty of healthy fat and jettisoned the breads and sugar.

But if you aren’t ready for such a drastic change, fish oil supplements have wonderful benefits, besides balancing your skin and improving wrinkles.

The brain is the only organ in the body that uses fat (fatty acids), so fish has been called “brain food”. Do eat wild caught fish, rather than farm raised, as often as you can, such as salmon, cod and halibut. If mercury is a concern, limit tuna, and particularly swordfish. Concerns about health risks from mercury in fish are not shared by all. Fish contain a less toxic form of mercury called methyl mercury cysteine. The ocean is rich in selenium and that binds some of the mercury, making it less toxic.

In Japan, the amount of mercury ingested from the high fish consumption greatly exceeds what is recommended as safe. However, Japanese children excel in school and out-perform American children. And there are no health issues apparent in Japanese kids that would indicate the mercury is poisoning them. So, mercury in fish does not seem to a reason to avoid eating fish a few times per week.

Pregnant women and very small children are more vulnerable. Mercury poisoning from methyl mercury chloride is a concern at any age, so avoid silver dental fillings.

The best fish oil supplements undergo molecular distillation to remove mercury, and the benefits of fish oil outweigh the risk of contamination.

Fish oil is anti-inflammatory, so helpful for joints, ageing, arthritis and autoimmune disease. Fish oil may lower cholesterol levels. It is helpful for dry eye symptoms and helps you maintain a healthy weight by keeping blood sugar more balanced, and cutting cravings. Fish oil helps depression and mood, and may help normalize blood pressure.

Dr. Anne Dunev, PhD
Naturopath (Practitioner of Natural Medicine),
Certified Nutritionist, and Certified Health Educator

You can make an appointment to see Dr. Dunev by calling our offices: (818)729-9149 Or visit our website:

Facials: Luxury or Necessity?


Interview with Ewa Szumilas
Aesthetician at Lisa Benest, MD | Skin Care & Laser Center

The importance of great looking skin should never be underestimated. First impressions are important, and how you (and your face) look are a big part of that. Truth be told, we all like to look at something “easy on the eyes.”  So where do you start if you have concerns about your skin and your facial appearance? A facial is perfect.

Ewa Szumilas is our Aesthetician here at Dr. Benest’s office. She has worked extensively in Paris, Manhattan and Palm Beach, with an impressive list of celebrity clients. We’re proud to have her as part of our Cosmetic Services team. We wanted to get her view on facials, products and a basic skin care regime anyone can use.

Most people, especially women, are well aware that facials are necessary for healthy skin.

Yes, and they should never be considered a luxury. One of the main differences I see in American women versus European women is that American women wait until much later in life to begin taking really good care of their skin. Then they try to make up for it with buying over-the-counter products to solve topical skin issues, as well as foundations and camouflage products to hide flaws. Fortunately, there’s a lot more that can be done with modern techniques to reverse the signs of aging, and the medical-grade facials like we’re able to do here at Dr. Benest’s can make a very big change.

How would you compare going to a spa for a facial and coming to Dr. Benest’s office?

When you go to a day spa, you’re going for the relaxing experience; the quiet music, the Jacuzzi, etc. Coming to a dermatologist’s office is a different type of experience. First off, we are able use much higher-grade masks, peels, serums, etc. for our patients. This means more effective medical-grade products that will get better results, faster. When you come here it’s about really taking a look at your skin and providing a treatment that’s going to help you from a medical and cosmetic perspective, rather than simply providing you a relaxing escape from your stressful week. Remember that we’re a dermatology office specializing in the care and health of your skin.

We also have the added advantage of having a doctor right down the hall. If I see an issue with someone’s skin that needs a doctor’s attention, we can take care of it.

What types of facials do you do?

We provide many types of facials, but truthfully every facial I do is a customized facial. Every patient is different and has different issues. With each facial I provide a mask, a peel, a massage and extractions for one price. Spas tend to price differently and you may see one price on their price list, but if you want a peel – that can be extra.

A spa’s Aesthetician will usually make a recommendation of products for you when you leave, do you do provide this service as well?

We sell various skin care products here – and again, many of them are of a different caliber than those you’d find at a spa because we are a doctor’s office. Additionally, if I feel that there are products we don’t sell that are available elsewhere, I’ll recommend what I feel you really need. The priority is you and your skin.

I also encourage all my patients to let me know what they are using on their skin and I’ll provide my professional opinion as to whether or not those products are best for them. In a spa they typically only recommend the products they sell.

What does it take to get truly flawless skin?

Some if it of course has to do with good genes but also good habits. However, with all that’s available today in terms of products, treatments and services – it’s attainable for most. Minimally we can take years off your face and create glowing-looking skin, but it has to be part of a consistent program: Daily care, monthly facials and good quality skin-products that are best for your skin. If someone has more advanced issues with uneven skin-tone, sun damage, deep wrinkles, scarring, etc., we have a number of treatments we can recommend to help you achieve your goals, which again are solutions you won’t find at a day spa.

What would you recommend as a basic skin-care program?

  1. Cleanse daily, especially at night.
  2. Moisturize daily.
  3. Use a product with sunscreen daily.
  4. Get a facial once a month. Twice a month if you have acne-prone skin.
  5. Drink plenty of water and eat well.

Book a facial with Ewa, and a consultation with one of our Cosmetic Nurse Specialists. Let’s see how gorgeous we can make you!

Drink Water for Healthier Looking Skin!

We’ve all heard about the 8/8 rule (eight 8oz. glasses of water per day) and its importance in creating healthy looking skin.  But doesn’t all that water just make us go to the bathroom more? Usually, yes. The answer is to also include high-water fruits and vegetables in your diet, such as watermelon, celery, cucumbers and zucchini. Not only will you increase your water intake, but you’ll also reap all the nutritional benefits these foods provide.

Saturday February 4th is World Cancer Day

Please make sure you and your loved ones get regular screenings for skin cancer if you’re at risk.  
Risk factors include:
  1. Fair skin, especially skin that burns, freckles or reddens easily
  2. A personal history of skin cancer
  3. A family history of skin cancer
  4. A history of sunburns, especially early in life
  5. A history of indoor tanning
  6. An abundance of moles and/or irregular moles
  7. A weakened immune system.

For more information, click here!

Sculptra is Coming to Lisa Benest MD!

Sculptra® Aesthetic is a facial injectable filler treatment for deep facial wrinkles and folds. It replaces the facial volume lost with age. It provides a foundation that replaces collagen gradually to restore a natural looking appearance that can last up to 2 years.

Sculptra® Aesthetic usually requires 2-3 treatments which are done about 1-2 months apart. Sculptra® Aesthetic is different from other facial fillers because it achieves noticeable results that emerge subtly with time, so you do not look instantly like you have had work done. The first facial injectable that lasts up to 2 years.


Sculptura Before and After