Fighting Preventable Cancers
The Paris News
With the release of a recent study by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research asserting that one in three common cancers may be preventable, the importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle is clear. In 2009, more than 97,000 Texans will receive a new cancer diagnosis.
While researchers believe that some cancers develop from factors outside of one’s control, a large number of cancers and other diseases may be preventable and avoided by changing habits and employing healthy strategies. Texans may find summer is the perfect season for improving one’s health inside and out instead of during more hurried times of the year. To jump start a healthy summer, Texas Oncology suggests four simple steps to improve overall health and protect against cancer – inside and out: Practice nutrition that will lower the risk of disease: Get cancer screenings, engage in physical activity and practice sun safety.
“A person’s cancer risk is dependent on a variety of factors, but it’s evident that eating better and exercising more to maintain a healthy weight, going for routine screenings, and protecting oneself from the sun can lead to fewer cancer diagnoses,” said Dr. Hari Kalla, a medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Abilene. “By making simple changes to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, Texans can realize the full range of healthful benefits the season offers.”
Eat Right! Take advantage of summer’s nutrient-rich bounty for improved health.
Overall, managing weight and eating a well-balanced diet full of powerful nutrients may bolster cancer and other body defenses as part of a healthy lifestyle. One of the healthiest ways to reduce calories is to limit the intake of sugars, saturated fats, trans fats, and alcohol, and to include more healthy foods like nutrient-packed produce. The following diet recommendations from the American Cancer Society will contribute to better overall nutrition: substituting whole grains for refined or processed grains; limiting processed and red meats, foods preserved with salt, and fat; no more than one alcoholic drink daily for women and two for men; at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; and drinking plenty of water every day.
The summer season is full of fruits and vegetables at their peak, and as an added bonus, buying in-season produce is generally less expensive. To read more tips on healthy nutrition that will lower the risk of disease, click here.
Remember Check-ups! Summer’s slower pace makes scheduling screenings easier.
With summer’s longer days, people may feel like they have more free time. Take advantage and get important cancer screenings if they are due. According to the latest report from the Health Information National Trends Survey, most Americans are not aware of when they should get cancer screening exams, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. Screening exams allow cancers to be diagnosed at the earliest stages and treated when treatment will be the most effective.
If detected early and treated appropriately, about one-third of cancers can be cured, according to the World Health Organization. While many recommended cancer screenings vary by age, all individuals should keep an eye on their skin and check for changes in moles, freckles, and other marks once a month. For a complete list of cancer screening recommendations at any age, click here.
Get Active! Enjoy physical fitness in beautiful summer weather.
Whether a person prefers hiking, swimming, taking nature walks, riding a bike, or playing outside with the kids, summer is an ideal time to increase physical activity. The impact of participating in the recommended 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least five times a week could be life-saving.
Studies show that more than 60 percent of Americans fail to routinely exercise, despite the fact that 25 to 30 percent of several major cancers, including colon, postmenopausal breast, endometrial, kidney, and esophageal cancers, may be due to obesity and lack of physical activity.
Use this summer’s fun physical activities to achieve or maintain a healthy weight. To learn more about the importance of exercise in cancer prevention and how to incorporate it in a daily routine, click here.
Save Your Skin! While enjoying outdoor activities this summer, take sun-protection measures.
Many favorite summer activities, like tubing the Guadalupe River, reading books on the beach in South Padre, and trips to amusement parks, involve being outdoors in the sun, but Texas Oncology wants Texans to outsmart the sun’s harmful rays. Texas ranked third in the nation for reported incidences of malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, last year, and experts estimate one in three Texans will develop skin cancer in the course of his or her lifetime. While skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, it is also very preventable by limiting exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Everyone, regardless of skin color, may develop skin cancer, though people with fair skin or who are outdoors frequently are at higher risk. Parents should also remember that even children need protection at a young age from the sun. Avoiding sun exposure when possible and taking precautions, such as using sunscreen and covering up the skin, go a long way in preventing skin cancer. For more tips on sun safety, click here.
By enjoying physical activity in the clear, warm weather; taking advantage of summer’s nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables; using summer’s slower pace to get recommended cancer screenings; and exercising sun safety habits, Texans can emerge from the season with reinforced health defenses in place.