The American Cancer Society has estimated that in 2014 there would be approximately 1.6 million new cancer cases diagnosed. Currently, heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States with cancer coming in a close second, so what can you do to not be a part of that number this year and for years to come? Become proactive! Reduce your risk of cancer with these 7 simple steps.
Say NO to Tobacco: If you don’t smoke or chew, give yourself a pat on the back, and avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible. For the tobacco users out there, understand that any type of tobacco, whether it comes from smoking or chewing, increases your risk to be diagnosed with cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix, kidney, oral cavity and pancreas. Avoiding tobacco, or deciding to quit if you already are a smoker, is one of the most important health decisions that you can make for yourself. Tobacco users, consult your doctor to determine the best plan of action for you to quit!
Eat a Healthy Diet: A healthy diet is not a “get out of jail free card” when it comes to cancer, but healthy eating habits can still help prevent it. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables while decreasing your intake of fat. If you drink alcohol, monitor your consumption to keep it at a minimum. Foods from plant sources like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are positive substances to base your diet on. Eat leaner and lighter foods, especially from animal sources, and avoid high-fat foods. High-fat diets can cause you to become overweight or obese, and that increases your risk of cancer; it also makes it harder for you to fit into those “goal” pants in your closet.
Maintain a Healthy Weight and Get Moving: If you’ve been talking about losing some unneeded pounds, then now is the time to act on it.By maintaining a healthy weight you lower the risk of various types of cancer like cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney. Physical activity alone can lower the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer. If you strive to gain substantial health benefits from physical activity, spend 150 minutes a week doing moderate workouts or 75 minutes a week doing vigorous activities. A combination of the two is beneficial as well. If you incorporate a 30-minute workout into your daily routine, you can exceed the 150-minute benchmark, which is even better!
Protect Yourself from the Big Star: We all have a leather-skinned friend who has spent way too much time in the sun; this is for him or her especially and you as well, because everyone needs to be educated on this subject.Skin cancer, one of the most preventable kinds of cancer, is also the most common. To protect yourself, avoid midday sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., stay in the shade when you are outside, and cover exposed areas with tightly woven, bright or dark colored clothing. Also apply sunscreen generously and often, and avoid tanning beds and sunlamps at all costs, because these are just as harmful as natural sunlight.
Get Immunized: Protection from certain viral infections is a priority in cancer prevention. Ask your doctor about getting the immunization against hepatitis B, because hepatitis B can increase the development of liver cancer. You should also be immunized against human papillomavirus. HPV is sexually transmitted, so it can lead to cervical and genital cancer, along with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck.
Bypass Risky Behaviors: This does not mean you cannot go sky diving with your buddies next week; rather it encourages you to avoid behaviors that could lead to infections, because infections might increase the risk of cancer. Two examples of risky behaviors to avoid are participating in unsafe sex and sharing needles.
Be Your Own Doctor and See Your Doctor: Perform regular self-exams, and consult with your doctor to determine on how often you should visit him or her. You can check yourself for cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast, but do not offer to check strangers once you’ve learned the proper techniques from your doctor; that is awkward and could get you arrested. Talk to your doctor about the best methods and how often a professional should screen you.
Be proactive about cancer prevention, beginning today – call Labtest Diagnostics at 314.LAB.TEST or visit our website at www.dlabtest.com to run lab work that could shed light on the aspects of health you need to pay better attention to so that you can further reduce your risk of cancer. The reward could literally save your life!