Javanan Radio Interview with
Dr. James Watson
Mr. Farley: That’s what I was really thinking. The best thing in my opinion, please correct me if I’m wrong, is whether you have a sign or not, if you have an intuition, if anybody says anything to you, the best thing to do is go and see your physician and do exactly what he says to do.
Dr. Watson: Yes.
Mr. Farley: I think this is the only way—as a layman—I can advise people to do it.
Dr. Watson: Now my experience has been that the number one reason why people do not get these screening tests is fear. They are afraid of what it might show. So as a consequence, people avoid going to see their doctor. And the most common people that avoid going to see their doctor are men. Men do not like to have their doctor put their finger up their rear end. Men don’t like to have tests done. We don’t like that, so unfortunately, men are less likely to get cancer screening than women. But men should have cancer screening just like women. And we should make it clear to all patients, and especially the Persian community, where there’s many times a taboo about talking about cancer, that cancer screening is curative and it can prevent the need for toxic therapies. So if you have your cancer screening done, the government cannot conspire against you. The university researchers can’t conspire against you. And the pharmaceutical companies will make no money if you don’t need any pharmaceutical pills.
Mr. Farley: I see. So, anything you want to add to the last thing you said?
Dr. Watson: Yes. What I would like to add is that in some communities, and I think the Persian community is added, people don’t like to talk about cancer. It’s a personal thing. It’s a taboo subject. It’s not discussed in the magazines, it’s not talked about on the radio or TV in the Persian language and we should change that. I hope everybody who’s listening today will know that at the dinner table you should talk with your spouse about cancer screening. At the restaurant, you should speak with your friends about cancer screening—
Mr. Farley: That’s one way of being on a diet because everybody will stop eating when you talk about—
Dr. Watson: Yes, they will. Now, I’m glad you mentioned that about the diet because one misconception is that you can prevent or treat cancer with diet. Now it is true that a healthy diet can reduce your risk of cancer, but even if you eat 6 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, it only reduces your risk of breast cancer, for instance, by 22%. So even if you eat a healthy diet, you still need to have screenings done. Because cancer is not caused by a kale deficiency. It’s not caused because you aren’t eating enough tomatoes, lettuce and greens. Those things help but they are not enough.
Mr. Farley: I see.
Mr. Zokaei: Which country is the highest in breast cancer?
Dr. Watson: Which group?
Mr. Zokaei: Which country?
Dr. Watson: Okay, that’s a very good question. The group that has the most cancer is in Scandinavia—Sweden, Norway and Denmark and Finland. And we don’t know exactly why, but one prominent reason is probably lack of exposure to the Sun in the winter time. In more tropical countries, Sun produces Vitamin D and there is some evidence that if your Vitamin D levels are high, you can reduce breast cancer by 25% and colon cancer by 27%. But when your Vitamin D levels are low, your risk of cancer is 2 to 3 times higher. So there is two ways of getting enough Vitamin D. One way is by taking Vitamin D tablets, but the cheapest way to get Vitamin D is to go out in the Sun. And unfortunately, doctors have scared people from the Sun. We have scared people into thinking if you go in the Sun, you will get cancer of the skin. And I think that is a bad thing to be afraid of. I think the Sun is not dangerous. What is dangerous is a sun burn, not the Sun. So, if you go out in the Sun every day for 10 to 15 minutes, you will not get a sun burn and your Vitamin D levels will be high and you can reduce your chances of colon and breast cancer by 25%.
Mr. Zokaei: Even California sun?
Dr. Watson: Yes.
Mr. Zokaei: Because everybody talks about the sun in California and they are scared. I don’t know why.
Dr. Watson: They’re scared. Keep in mind, if you go into the sun with sunblock on, you’re destroying the effectiveness of the Sun in producing Vitamin D. So you have to go out into the sun for 10 to 15 minutes without sunblock on. Because otherwise, your skin cannot make Vitamin D.
Mr. Farley: People put on all kinds of sun screen and they think that’s it. They’ll get the benefit without the harm to themselves. But now we see that it’s not true.
Dr. Watson: That’s right.
Mr. Farley: But you know, I’d like to ask you—unless there are some other things you’d like to discuss—if you would please accept our invitation to come with the magazine or the radio in the future just to keep us updated with new discoveries and informing us with the result—whether positive or negative—of some of your patients. Of course with their permission or not mentioning any names. I think when you come up with live samples—or as in my profession as an architect, we make models to really show our clients what the subject is going to look like.
Dr. Watson: Well, I would be happy to accept that invitation to come back, to carry on a conversation with both of you on this subject. And I would also be happy to come back to take questions from your radio audience from people who have questions. And I do have over 100 patients of mine who have volunteered to share their story with other patients. And I know that we could find one. The best thing we could do is find someone in the Persian community who can share their experience in Farsi with your radio audience about the successful early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Mr. Farley: In the meantime, we will talk to our other physicians in the same area and see if we can make a caravan back to the old country—and you can give them wonderful advice. Also to the other physicians who may have some more technical questions for you.
Dr. Watson: I would love to do that and accept the invitation to go back to Iran. I had a positive experience with my last trip to Iran. And I think that this is a pivotal time in history where, much like what happened in China in 1975, with President Nixon, I think the next 3 to 4 years there will be an opportunity for more and more dialogue between the Persian community and the United States and the Persian community and Iran. After all, we live in “Tehran-geles” here, right?
Mr. Farley: That’s right. I’m amazed that you know about such things.
Dr. Watson: I know all about “Tehran-geles.”
Mr. Farley: Westwood Boulevard. That’s true. I want to thank you for me, the editor and all of our audience and the employees of this organization, to have an honorable and wonderful guest like yourself. And, we do appreciate it. I have no doubt that our audience will appreciate your talk, your advice and I know the next question they’ll ask us is: When is the next time Dr. Watson is going to be on the air or in the magazine? We’ll find out the answer to that.
Dr. Watson: And I would also like to add that we are going to have some material on the website that you can access that will have questions and answers for some of the questions that are on the subject of cancer, especially breast cancer, for your audience. So please visit the website for Javanan. Javanan.com and you all will find more answers to your questions about cancer, cancer screenings and what you can personally do about it.
Mr. Farley: That’s great.
Mr. Zokaei: I know people would like to know about your trip in Iran. They’d like to know about that.
Dr. Watson: Okay. My trip to Iran was primarily to give lectures, but I found it was a wonderful vacation too. I really enjoyed the Persian food there. I enjoyed the Persian music. It was very unique. I’ve never heard that anywhere else in the world. I had the chance to go up on the sky tower and look up over the city of Tehran. I could see the mountains. And while we were there in Tehran it rained and on the mountains nearby, it snowed. And the mountains nearby where beautiful when we woke up.
Mr. Farley: Damavan.
Dr. Watson: Damavan you said? Our host told us that up in the Damavan mountains there were ski resorts.
Mr. Farley: Yes.
Dr. Watson: Well the next time I go back, I hope to snow ski because I enjoy snow skiing.
Mr. Farley: Anytime by the way. Even in the summer. Down below is maybe 90 degrees, but up there it could be snowing like mad. They have a way of getting there—
Dr. Watson: I was surprised. It was raining in Tehran—at Tehran University—and up in the mountains, they were completely covered with fresh snow. It was beautiful.
Mr. Farley: Yes.
Dr. Watson: Probably the highlight of my trip to Tehran, and I recommend all of you during this radio show, to visit the museums in Tehran. I have been to museums in Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Western Europe, Japan. I’ve visited the Terracotta Warriors in China. I’ve been to many of the Unesco historic land sites but I have never seen anything like the museum of history in Tehran. There they had artifacts, pottery and various other things that the archeologists had discovered that were 9,000 years old. And I think that many of these were from the dawn of civilization. So there’s no question that Tehran was the birthplace of—Persia was one of the birth places of modern civilization. And there are artifacts to prove that.
Mr. Zokaei: Next time you can go to Esfahan and Shiraz.
Mr. Farley: Next time we’ll make sure, if we have anything to do with it, that you will meet—that you will go visit Esfahan, Shiraz, Kerman and a quick visit to the Caspian Sea.
Dr. Watson: And I would also like to add for our radio audience that right now with so much terrorism going on around the world, people are afraid to travel. They are afraid that they might be captured, kidnapped, killed, but I believe right now, despite all the bad things going on around the world, that travel to Iran is, I believe, very safe. The government of Iran has done a very good job of keeping the radical terrorist out of Iran and many people think maybe that terrorism is going on there, but it’s just not being reported. I can tell you from a Westerner point of view, I think it’s very safe to travel there and I do not think Westerners should not be afraid of traveling to Iran. I think it is a wonderful place. Now I know for the Persian community in Southern California there are some who are concerned that many of the old ties from their family or their fathers or grandfathers that could have been associated with the Shah could make their own trip there dangerous. That I can’t comment on. That I do not know. But I think that for second and third generation Persian Americans, I think it’s very safe to travel to Iran and I highly recommend it.
Mr. Farley: I think you’re right. I really agree with you and as—I’m a little biased of course because I’m Persian—but I talk to myself sometimes and I say: “Who wouldn’t want to visit Iran?” –The history behind it and some beautiful, beautiful, beautiful scenery that you can see by the Caspian Sea and Esfahan. It’s just a beautiful land to visit.
Dr. Watson: Yes. And one thing that surprised me for instance, and I’ve traveled to India—I went there to do some volunteer work there in India—you can fly of course in modern planes, but once you’re there, most of the travel has to be by train or bus or taxi. But in Iran, there are modern jets going—airbus jets—going from every large city there. So when you go to Persia, to Iran to travel, you’re going to be riding in a plane that’s just the same as any plane here. For a while they had trouble getting parts—during the embargo—but the embargo is over and there are commercial airlines that will take you safely and rapidly from city to city. So travel is very easy there.
Mr. Farley: And most of the pilots were trained right here in America.
Dr. Watson: So air travel is very safe there too.
Mr. Zokaei: Thank you. Thank you so much for coming.
Mr. Farley: Thank you. Thank you. Really, I don’t know how to thank you other than just saying it.
Dr. Watson: Well the only way you can thank me is to invite me to come back and next time maybe we can have some questions from our radio audience.
Mr. Farley: And we’ll be more prepared. I guarantee you that.
Dr. Watson: And we want to make this something that will help each of you become healthier and to take away your fear of cancer and cancer screenings. Because it is not something you should be afraid of.
Mr. Farley: Thank you so much Dr. Watson.