Cancer patients and survivors learn how food can be medicine for the body

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The battle against cancer can take a toll on a person, but Monday night, a group of patients, survivors, and caregivers came together in hopes of overcoming that fight in a unique way.

When it comes to battling cancer, there is a host of advanced medical treatments and procedures people in the east undergo to improve their odds, but at this event, people learned how they can improve their chances in that fight using the food they eat every day.

Eating six to nine servings of organic or fresh greens every single day. That's the advice a group of cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones were given Monday night at Starlight Cafe in Greenville.

It was all part of the third annual Kicking Cancer with Cuisine event, drawing out people like Carolyn Benham who came after her chemotherapy treatment to enjoy the night.

"It is very therapeutic," she says. "You, you learn not to concentrate on yourself. Other people have gone through the same thing and are very encouraging."

Sponsored by local businesses, the group was shown a cooking demonstration to make vegetable-based meals before a talk by Greenville specialist Dr. Robert McCarthy.

He talked about the impact plant-based diets can have on fighting inflammation within the body which can make cancer worse.

"These folks need the best opportunity to fight disease, if you can lower inflammation, you give your body a better chance of fighting off diseases," explains Dr. Robert McCarthy, the featured speaker.

With brand new healthy cookbooks in hand, attendees got to dine on some of the very plant-based meals they had been hearing about.

With ECU basketball players serving as the waiters, organizers hoped this would be a fun but educational distraction for the night.

"It also allows survivors to take a break from being inundated with all the distress surrounding their diagnosis or treatment process, or whatever that looks like," says Jenny Higgins, the Support and Survivorship Coordinator.

Dr. McCarthy did say during his talk that it may seem like a daunting task to make such big changes to your diet but advised giving it a try for at least two weeks, saying that's the amount of time it takes the average person to form a new habit. After that, he says it becomes a lot easier to eat healthily.

Kicking Cancer with Cuisine was made possible this year with a partnership between Vidant Cancer Care, Starlight Cafe, Juice Vibes of Greenville, and the Scullery.