Want to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer?
If you knew there was something you could do to reduce your risk of cancer, wouldn't you do it? There is no cure for cancer, but research has proven that there are ways we can reduce the occurrence and recurrence of cancer.
February is Cancer Prevention Month and we, at Be Strong Therapy, would love to share some easy ways you can reduce your risk of cancer by making some easy lifestyle changes. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health estimate that up to 75% of American cancer deaths can be prevented. Not only can you reduce your risk of cancer, but you can live a healthier lifestyle and feel better on a daily basis by following these ten guidelines!
1. Quit Smoking
The use of tobacco products has been linked to many types of cancer, including lung, colorectal, breast, throat, cervical, bladder, mouth and esophageal. 90% of all lung cancer is smoking related. People exposed to second hand smoke are also at risk of smoking related lung cancer.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Harvard health recommends you reduce your intake of saturated fat and red meat, which may reduce your risk of colon cancer and aggressive forms of prostate cancer. Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
3. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise has been shown to reduce risk of breast, colon and possibly reproductive organ cancers. Exercise may protect you from getting cancer, even if you don't lose weight. The American Heart Association recommends the general adult population get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week, which breaks down to at least 30 minutes per day, five times per week.
4. Stay Lean
Obesity can increase your risk for many types of cancer. There are many calorie counting apps that make tracking your food and nutrient intake much more convenient than it has been in the past. Tracking macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrate ratios) can also help ensure that you are getting the correct ratio of nutrients.
5. Limit Alcohol Intake
Excessive alcohol intake can increase the risk of mouth, larynx, esophageal and even breast cancer. Limit your intake to an average of one alcoholic beverage per day.
6. Avoid Unnecessary Exposure to Radiation
Check your home for residential radon, which can increase your risk of lung cancer. Get medical imaging studies only when needed to avoid excessive exposure.
7. Avoid Exposures to Industrial and Environmental Toxins
Carcinogenic (cancer causing) environmental toxins include arsenic, asbestos, formaldahyde, radon, and wood dusts.
8. Avoid Infections that can Contribute to Cancer
Do your best to avoid infections such as Human Papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer in women, and oropharyngeal cancer in men. Other infections that contribute to cancer include HIV and hepatitis.
9. Make Quality Sleep a Priority
There is limited evidence to support the claim that a lack of sleep alone contributes to the risk of cancer, but there is a link between poor sleep and obesity, which increases the risk of cancer. While this may vary from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.
10. Get Enough Vitamin D
Recommended amounts of vitamin D are now 800 to 1,000 IU a day. This is nearly impossible to do without taking a supplement. One way to naturally increase vitamin D is spending time in the sun. You also want to be careful to protect yourself from harmful UV rays by using sunscreen. Other ways to increase vitamin D include consuming fatty fish and seafood, eating more mushrooms and egg yolks as well as eating vitamin D fortified foods.
We have discussed ways to help protect yourself against cancer, but now let's talk about common signs and symptoms of cancer. The American Cancer Society has developed a simple reminder to help identify cancer symptoms. This list is in no way comprehensive. Be on the lookout for another blog post soon that will contain a more comprehensive review of common signs and symptoms of cancer.
C: Change in bowel or bladder habits
A: A sore that does not heal
U: Unusual bleeding or discharge
T: Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere
I: Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
O: Obvious change in a wart or mole
N: Nagging cough or hoarseness
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, contact your physician to discuss potential reasons why these symptoms are occurring and to obtain a cancer screening if your doctor sees fit. Don't ignore symptoms, even if they may seem "normal" for you.
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Join us for our 2020 Stomp Out Cancer 1 mile event for Cancer Prevention Month! If you are not local to Tallahassee, there are still ways to participate! Click on the event link to find out more!