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Cancer Health Center

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Q&A With Chandra Wilson

Actor Chandra Wilson talks about breast cancer, Denim Day, and her personal health philosophy.

Who has influenced you most when it comes to your health?

Probably my very good friend Thaanha Lai, a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2001 and just came off tamoxifen. She grew vegetables in her garden in New York City, walked and rode her bike everywhere. When she was diagnosed, it was such a surprise because she was so healthy and she wasn’t even an A-cup! But her doctor told her that her body was in such good shape that she was far ahead of the game in dealing with the effects of cancer treatment. Because it’s not just the cancer, it’s the effects of treatment like chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Watching her go through that stuck with me: Pay attention to what you’re putting in your body because it’s equipping you to be able to handle it if you have to fight.

What healthy habits are you pursuing and trying to teach your kids, who are aged 15, 13, and 2?

I’d love to say that I’ve made a 180-degree turn and gone from night to day, but we’re making progress. We tried going cold turkey with things like healthy foods, and the kids acted like they were starving to death. It has to be baby steps -- I’ve had to wean them. Now they do fine with fruit and vegetables and yogurt. We’ve been experimenting with smoothies, and everyone likes apple slices, so we do those with a little peanut butter. And we’re drinking a lot of water and cutting out most sodas and juices, except orange juice and grapefruit juice for breakfast.

What’s your favorite part of your body?

That’s a fantastic question! What makes me happy? I have nice hands. I like them a lot. I have nails, and for a small person, my fingers are kind of long. They present well -- they wear jewelry real nice, you know what I’m saying? They can wear a ring.

You’re now 39. How do you feel about aging?

Bring it on! The word is that you get better and smarter and wiser with every year, so I’m like, c’mon, let’s get to that part. I’m looking forward to 40. Oprah says 50 is better, so I’m trying to get there.

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