Can we put an end to illness?

Meet cancer pioneer and health legend Dr. David Agus, who takes a new approach to an old disease. Rather than changing cancer itself, he focuses on changing you so cancer can’t grow.

“The best way to fight disease is to prevent it,” Dr. Agus told IVY. “Normally, we only get interested in our health when calamities start happening. But intervention should happen now, not 10-20 years from now. This could mean vaccines, medications, or simple changes in behavior.”

His researchwhich appears in his bestselling book and a morning show on CBSis in service of the question: is it really necessary to suffer from chronic sickness? Or can we engineer our lives to live vigorously until our last breath?

Read David’s top advice.


Dr. David Agus

Stand, Don’t Sit

The first tip is especially applicable for the IVY audience, which works like crazy. Sitting for five hours a day is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. The data is clear. We have to regiment our lives so that we move more. Get up every 30 minutes and walk. Don’t put your printer in your office; walk to another floor. If you’re a CEO, encourage all of your employees to move. (Personally, I would make the CEO of company mandate that elevators are coin-operated.) Make your employees get competitive and wear devices.

What’s interesting is that the richer you are, the closer your parking space is to your desk. That’s bad. I have a treadmill desk, and I have one meeting a day where I go for a walk.

Change Your Diet

It’s not necessarily what you eat, but when you eat that matters. People who graze have an 81% increased risk of diabetes. Eat your meals at the same time every day. If you skip a meal or eat later, then the stress hormones in the body go up and alter your metabolism. You therefore don’t think as well or act as well or exercise as well. You need to regularize when you go to bed, when you eat, and when you wake up.

Eat real food. Vitamins and supplements have no benefit. There’s some data that show they cause significant harm

Get Vaccinated

If an IVY member skipped the flu shot this year, he or she would survive. But 10 years from now, his or her risk of heart disease will go up because of the inflammation associated with that case of the flu.

Talk to Aunt Marge

Find out your family history. Talk to your parents, your grandparents, your uncles, and your aunts. If you know your genetics, you can personalize a prevention program.

Don’t Worry About Cell Phones

I do not see any link between cell phone radiation and cancer. If there were a link between cell phone radiation and brain cancer, we would expect to see a large increase in the incidence of brain cancer since the 1970s. However, what we actually see is that since 1970, there has been no significant change.

Understand the Future of Medicine

Unlike previous generations, we’re able collect our own data now, so the idea that you have to go to a doctor so he can check your blood pressure at 2PM one random afternoon (and then wait for the results) is ridiculous. You should be checking your own blood pressure after an angry phone call, or at 6PM, or at 10PM. When you go to your doctor, you should be able to go in with all of your data: your heart rate, your weight, everything. There are very few things in medicine that are black and white, so each of us needs to make decisions based on our internal value system. It shouldn’t always be the doctor.

Right now, our body is talking to us but we’re not listening. From one drop of blood, you can see all the conversations going on in the body. We’re going to start to listen, intervene early, and do things differently based on what happens within an individual body. If you’re driving from LA and SF, you have to look at the road, the weather, and the traffic. Today, all we’re doing is looking at the car.

Cancer is not a biology problem; it’s a systems problem. Health represents 30% of US economy, yet there’s almost no innovation. I want people to support us with new ideas, as well as dollars. Some of our greatest insights have come from people who are not in the field. I work with a Nobel Laureate in physics and a guy who designs super computers. You’ve got a physicist, an engineer, and a cancer doctor working together.

Join the Cause!

Any IVY members might have a technology or a way of thinking that would be very helpful. I’d love for them to learn more about what we’re doing and how to contribute. There are very few startups in the area, and very few new ways of thinking. I’d encourage everyone out there to think of new ways to approach health!

Dr. David Agus is an IVY Thought Leader. Connect and collaborate with him here! To learn more about IVY, please visit