Many of us assume there is nothing we can do to stop cancer. If it happens, it happens. But research continually shows that there are ways to reduce your risks for certain types of cancer. There are also ways to determine if you are at a heightened risk, which can help you and your doctor catch cancer in its earliest stages, when it is often easier to treat. In this issue, find out how you can take charge of your health, reduce your risks for developing cancer and get the help you need.
PREVENTION QUIZ: ARE YOU AT RISK?
By now, most people know smoking increases your chances of getting cancer. But smoking isn’t the only thing that can put you at risk. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are several behaviors that increase your risk. The good news? You can prevent many of them. Take this short quiz to find out about your risks and ways you can prevent them.
Do you drink alcohol?
If you drink, you don’t need to cut out alcohol altogether, but you may want to curb your use. Heavy drinking increases your risk of several different types of cancer. So make sure to drink in moderation. That means no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
Do you tan or spend a lot of time outside?
The UV rays from the sun or from sun lamps can put you at risk for melanoma and other skin cancers. If you are going to be in the sun, it’s
important to protect yourself. Make sure to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Do you smoke?
Smoking doesn’t just put you at risk for lung cancer, it also increases your chances for developing throat, bladder, kidney, stomach, pancreas, colon and other cancers. It’s never too late to stop. Quitting reduces your chances of getting cancer. Even if you already have been diagnosed with cancer, quitting smoking can reduce the chances you will die from your illness.
Are you overweight or obese?
Obesity does put you at an increased risk for breast, colon, pancreas and other cancers. But being active and eating well may not only decrease your chances of developing cancer, it could improve your health overall.
Has anyone in your family had cancer?
This risk factor cannot be prevented, but it is important to know your family’s history. If you know your family has a history of breast cancer, for example, you can be tested more often. This will help doctors catch the disease early if you develop it. And early diagnosis often leads to earlier and better treatment.