Boost Your Cancer IQ
Prevention and Early Detection
According to the American Cancer Society:
- Each year more than one million people get cancer;
- Millions more live with or are cured of the disease; and
- In the US, nearly half of all men and one-third of all women have cancer at some point in their lives.
This means that virtually all of us are affected either individually or through a friend's or family member's diagnosis.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States. Reduce your chance of developing most types of cancer by following these guidelines:
Know the Risk Factors
Learning more about risks can help you reduce them.
- Are things that cause you to be more susceptible to a disease;
- Differ by cancer type; and
- Do not necessarily lead to developing cancer.
Though genetics influence risks, most cancer risk is due to factors that are not inherited.
Factors over which you may have some control include:
- Diet and activity;
- Tobacco use;
- Sun exposure; and
- Other outside exposures.
These factors account for 75 percent of all cancer cases in the United States.
Risk factors you cannot change include:
- Gender; and
- Family history
Though you cannot control these, following guidelines for screenings can lead to early detection and improved survival.
Practice a Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce cancer risk. The American Cancer Society offers these health-wise tips.
Engage in at least moderate physical activity for 30 minutes, 5 or more days a week.
- Skip the elevator, and take the stairs.
- Walk or ride your bike to work.
- Pedal a stationary bike while watching TV.
- Take a walk during your lunch hour.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Balance caloric intake with physical activity.
- Lose weight if currently overweight or obese.
- Practice portion control.
Eat a Healthy, Varied Diet in Moderation
- Include at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits each day.
- Choose high-fiber foods and whole grains.
Limit saturated fat intake.
- Eat less smoked, salted and nitrite-cured foods.
Reduce alcohol consumption.
Take Preventative Measures
Prevention is still the best medicine when it comes to cancer. Cigarette smoking and tobacco use are the most preventable causes of premature death in our society.
- Damages nearly every organ in the human body;
- Is linked to 10 different cancers; and
- Accounts for some 30 percent of all cancer deaths.
- Some 3,000 non-smoking Americans die each year because of second-hand smoke.
- Causes various cancers and non-cancerous oral conditions; and
- Delivers a high dose of addictive nicotine.
Be a Quitter!
For success quitting, seek motivation, dependable support and sound strategies.
Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer
To reduce your risk for skin cancer, protect your skin from the sun's UV radiation. The American Cancer Society says:
Slip on a shirt;
Slop on a 15 SPF or higher sunscreen;
Slap on a hat; and
Wrap on sunglasses.
Begin sun-safe habits early in life and continue throughout.
Follow a Regular Routine
The sooner cancer is found and the sooner treatment begins, the better the chances are for a cure. Follow a health routine that includes watching for cancer warning signals and taking other steps towards early detection.
Cancer Warning Signals:
Change in bowel or bladder habits
A sore that does not heal
Unusual bleeding or discharge
Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere
Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing
Obvious change in a wart or mole
Nagging cough or hoarseness.
Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can indicate non-cancerous conditions or illnesses. If you experience these symptoms, don't panic - just see your physician.
Cancer Screening Guidelines
Following a regular health routine, which includes cancer screenings, improves outcomes and makes cancer treatment more effective. Your physician can help evaluate your heredity and lifestyle for screenings. Learn more about specific cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society »