COLUMBUS, Ohio – After home builder Charles Ruma had successfully completed treatment for testicular cancer at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), he decided to do something to raise awareness and money for cancer research.
Ruma teamed up with Dr. Steven Clinton, director of the Prostate and Genitourinary Oncology Clinic at OSUCCC – James, to design and build a home specifically to promote healthy living – and quite possibly prevent cancer. Many of the features of this house can easily be included in new homes, or renovations of existing homes to promote healthier living, says Clinton.
“I think this is something that you’d want to do as a consumer as you’re thinking about remodeling. When you look at one thing at a time it may not seem like too much, but when you put them all together, there really is such a thing as composing a healthy home and lifestyle,” says Clinton, who also leads the OSUCCC – James’s Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program.
The house – recently auctioned for $400,000 to fund cancer research – features a specialized air filtration system similar to those used in hospital intensive care units to remove allergens, germs and other microbes that can cause illness in patients with compromised immune systems, as often occurs during cancer treatment.
“It’s very easy to retrofit these things into an existing home,” says Ruma, who owns Virginia Homes. “The air filter is simply a plug-in that goes into the HVAC system, and the water system can easily be added as well. Those are two big components of a healthy home.”
The 3,100-square-foot home in Dublin, Ohio, also has an active radon removal system and features paint, carpet and other materials that emit fewer toxic chemicals. The carpet and insulation are formaldehyde-free, and the paint has low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are chemicals that that been linked to a higher risk of cancer.
“We looked at all the components of the home and all the building products that are used in the home, and we’ve carefully selected items that are manufactured with fewer chemicals,” says Ruma.
The house, with a spacious yard and a built-in gym, encourages exercising and staying active while a vegetable garden just outside the kitchen encourages healthy eating. The hardwood floors are made of bamboo, which is a natural product that is easy to clean and does not emit toxic chemicals. The kitchen is fully equipped with novel appliances to prepare healthy meals, such as the steam convection oven that preserves nutrients while steaming fresh-grown vegetables.
“The ideas for this healthy home extended into diet and nutrition – a garden, the kitchen and a great place to prepare and compose healthy meals, particularly with a diverse array of fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Clinton. “These are all part of helping us defeat cancer. When given the option, we would rather prevent cancer than have to treat it.”
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (cancer.osu.edu) strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program’s 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
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