Preventing Cancer

February is National Cancer Prevention Month.  If your New Year’s resolution to get healthy is already losing steam, now is a perfect time to give yourself a second chance.  Renew your efforts to make healthier choices by learning what you can do to help reduce your cancer risk.

Research has shown that more than half of all cancers diagnosed in the United States can be attributed to preventable causes – things like smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and excessive exposure to the sun.  As a result, steps like not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, protecting your skin from the sun, and getting vaccinated against the viruses that cause certain cancers can dramatically reduce your risk of certain cancers.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), an American cancer research organization associated with the World Cancer Research Fund, estimates that approximately one-third of cases of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented by eating healthy, being active, and staying lean.  That’s an estimated 374,000 cases of cancer in the United States that would never happen.

In honor of National Cancer Prevention Month, the AICR released these ten recommendations for cancer prevention:

– Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.

– Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.  Limit sedentary habits.

– Avoid sugary drinks.  Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.

– Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.

– Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.

– If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.

– Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).

– Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer.

– It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add other liquids and foods.

– After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

Another way you can reduce your risk for cancer is by getting screening tests that can help find cancer at an early stage, before symptoms appear.  When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat or cure.  By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown and spread, making the cancer harder to treat or cure.  The earlier doctors can detect changes in tissue, the better the chances of removing a cancer with few complications.  Important cancer screenings such as colonoscopies, mammograms, pap tests, PSA tests, and skin cancer screenings save lives and prevent tumor development.

If you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with cancer or have questions about treatment options, please contact our center today.

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