Approximately one out of every three Americans will acquire cancer at some point in their lives. Despite these sobering numbers, scientists have made significant progress in understanding the biology of cancer cells and have dramatically improved cancer detection and treatment.
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Rather than waiting for new breakthroughs, you may take steps to safeguard yourself now. Screening tests can help detect cancer in its early stages, but you should always be on the lookout for symptoms. Years ago, the American Cancer Society devised this simple reminder:
C: Abnormalities in bowel or bladder habits
A: A persistent sore that refuses to heal
U: Bleeding or discharge that is unusual.
T: A bulge or thickening in the breast or elsewhere
I: Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
O: Changes in a wart or mole that are obvious
N: A bothersome cough or hoarseness
At best, it’s a rough guide. Nonmalignant conditions cause the great majority of such symptoms, and tumours can induce symptoms that aren’t included, such as unexplained weight loss or exhaustion. It is, nevertheless, a good reminder to listen to your body and report any distressing sounds to your doctor.
Early detection is critical, but can you go one step further? Is it possible to lower your chances of having cancer in the first place? It appears to be too wonderful to be true, but it isn’t. According to Harvard School of Public Health researchers, up to 75% of cancer deaths in the United States can be avoided. The following are the ten cancer prevention commandments:
1. Avoid using tobacco in any form, including secondhand smoke.
You don’t have to be a world-renowned scientist to figure out how to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.
Eat healthily. Reduce your intake of saturated fat and red meat, which have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer and a more aggressive form of prostate cancer. Increase the number of fruits, veggies, and whole grains you consume.
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3. Exercise on a regular basis. The association between physical exercise and a lower risk of colon cancer has been established. Exercise appears to lower the risk of breast and perhaps reproductive malignancies in women. Even if you don’t lose weight, exercise will help you stay healthy.
4. Maintain a lean physique. Obesity raises the risk of developing a variety of cancers. Calories matter; if you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories and exercise more.
5. If you choose to drink, keep it to one drink per day on average. Excessive alcohol consumption raises the risk of malignancies of the mouth, larynx (voice box), oesophagus (food pipe), liver, and colon, as well as breast cancer in women. Many alcohol-induced cancers are made more dangerous by smoking.
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6. Avoid unnecessary radiation exposure. Medical imaging studies should only be ordered when absolutely necessary. Residential radon, which raises the risk of lung cancer, should be checked in your home. Protect yourself against the sun’s UV radiation, which can cause melanomas and other skin cancers. Electromagnetic radiation from high-voltage power lines and radiofrequency radiation from microwaves and cell phones, on the other hand, isn’t a concern. They have no cancer-causing properties.
7. Avoid asbestos fibres, benzene, aromatic amines, and polychlorinated biphenyls, as well as other industrial and environmental toxins (PCBs).
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8. Avoid cancer-causing infections such as hepatitis viruses, HIV, and the human papillomavirus. Many are spread through sexual contact or tainted needles.
9. Prioritize a good night’s sleep. To be sure, there isn’t a lot of research associating sleep with cancer. However, insufficient and poor sleep is linked to weight growth, which is a cancer risk factor.
10. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. Many doctors now recommend 800 to 1,000 IU per day, which is nearly impossible to achieve without supplementation. Although proof of protection is lacking, data suggests that vitamin D may help lower the incidence of prostate cancer, colon cancer, and other cancers. Other supplements, on the other hand, should not be relied upon.