Health Facts #7
[Taunya is nurse, author, and director of MAWMedia Group’s Health Literacy efforts. Find her author page at facebook.com/authorTSW]
100 Health facts and tips (#7 of 100)
#7 Risk for cancer can be managed through screenings and lifestyle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cancer is now the second leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than a half a million lives each year. Cancer can affect any part of the body, and is not forgiving. Some of the common areas cancer attacks are breasts, colon, cervix, lungs and skin.
So, how can we take measures to lessen the risk of cancer intruding into our lives? Two different methods come to mind: Screenings and Lifestyle. Both are common sense methods–things that you can fit into your routine and care for yourself.
Cancer screenings can be done yearly, but it really depends on what is being screened. For example, a pap smear is done yearly for cervical cancer. Breast cancer screening schedules are even more complex. The recommendations vary by age, breast density, and family history. Consult your physician on time frames regarding your screenings.
Lifestyle methods include what and how you eat, your activity and how you maintain your weight, hygiene, sexual health choices, and product use including tobacco products. Also, do not forget play time in the sun and ingestion of toxins, and exposure to chemical agents.
It is important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. I like to think of it as eating the colors of the rainbow. The more alive the veggie, the more life it provides for you. Daily exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, aiding the digestion, use, and elimination of what you eat. Good oral hygiene keeps bacteria from being produced in your mouth. Overall hygiene (i.e. bathing) keeps the skin clean. Having multiple sex partners, along with having sex early, increases the risk for cervical cancer (Mosby, 1994). The American Lung Association states that second hand smoke can contribute to the development of lung cancer. Avoiding smoking not only helps you, but it helps those around you. With summer in the distance, most cannot wait to enjoy some sun. Yet, be mindful of how much exposure your skin receives. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can alter your skin cells, says the CDC.
Mosby’s Medical Dictionary 4th edition