The title of this self help section “Cancer” of Webspeak Ezine is simple but cancer isn’t so simple. There are a series of articles in this section devoted to cancer: What it is, how to prevent, how to fight it.
While there are cancer risk factors that aren't always completely in our control, there is a category of risk factors that is: Lifestyle. Jean-Paul Sartre said "We are our choices" and this holds true when it comes to health.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Cancer Prevention
Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Cancer Prevention
By Areg Boyamyan
While there are cancer risk factors that aren’t always completely in our control, there is a category of risk factors that is: Lifestyle. Jean-Paul Sartre said “We are our choices” and this holds true when it comes to health.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Healthy Lifestyle
The daily choices a person makes can contribute to either bad health or good health and these same choices can impact the level of risk for developing cancer. Additionally, should cancer develop, lifestyle choices can affect a patient’s prognosis. The bottom line, the healthier your lifestyle, the more you reduce your cancer risk.
Risk Factors and Recommendations
If you can do something or avoid something and decrease your cancer risk, wouldn’t you? There are a wide range of things that you can do to support a healthy lifestyle and the first step in actually accomplishing those things is knowing what they are. So, without further ado, here is
- Alcohol– Drinking alcohol may increase a person’s risk of developing cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), esophagus, liver, and breast. The more a person drinks, the higher the risk. We also want to point out that there is no research-based evidence that drinking a glass of red wine a day reduces the risk of cancer. When it comes to alcohol, it’s a general rule: more is worse for your health.
- Diet – A well-balanced diet with mostly vegetables, fruits, and herbs, in addition to whole grains and a variety of proteins, is best. Many of these whole foods have cancer-fighting benefits as well. For more information on specific cancer-fighting foods, visit The American Institute for Cancer Research’s (AICR) list of Foods that Fight Cancer. The City of Hope also has beneficial information in the way of “superfoods,” which you can see on their website. Foods and drinks that a person should keep to a minimum include those high in saturated fats, high in salt, and high in sugar. This doesn’t mean you can never have dessert or anything fried (who doesn’t love fried chicken?), but foods like these should not be a regular part of a person’s diet. Additionally, as a general rule, natural and unprocessed is always better.
- Obesity – Those who are obese may have an increased risk of several types of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Maintaining a healthy weight with regular exercise and a healthy diet is essential to a healthy lifestyle, which, in turn, decreases your cancer risk.
- Physical Activity – Being physically active helps maintain a healthy weight, improves and optimizes circulation, and improves the health of your muscles, bones, and even organs. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Adults aged 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.” To get the most out of exercise, it is recommended to include a variety. Sticking to just one form of exercise is beneficial at the beginning, but as the body adapts to that exercise, it will achieve less.
- Sunlight – Overexposure to sunlight and its ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes skin damage and premature aging of the skin that could lead to skin cancer. Protect your skin with sunscreen and/or clothing when spending extended periods of time in the sun. It is important to note, however, that while “overexposure” is dangerous, limited/safe exposure does provide some benefit in terms of vitamin D.
- Tobacco – There is NO SAFE LEVEL of tobacco use. According to NCI, people who quit smoking have substantial gains in life expectancy when compared to those who continue to smoke.
Understanding Your Cancer Risk
Inherited cancer risks are a reality, though they do not guarantee a cancer diagnosis. Additionally, the lifestyle choices a person makes can still impact their level of risk as well as their prognosis in the event of a diagnosis, even with inherited risk. Knowing whether you have a genetic predisposition for certain cancers can help you make the best decisions for a healthy lifestyle. For more information on how you can identify your inherited cancer risk, visit our website at http://reveal23.com/.
Understanding the Basics of Breast Cancer
By Areg Boyamyan
There is no sense in worrying about something that you don’t understand or know much about. Breast cancer carries the stigma of an indiscriminate killer but there is much about this disease that people do not know. If you are worried about it, you should know why it is legitimate to worry and why, in some ways, it isn’t.
Breast Cancer Statistics
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2017. About 63,410 new cases of CIS (carcinoma in situ), the earliest and non-invasive form of breast cancer, will be diagnosed the same year. Additionally, about 40,610 women will die from the disease.
These numbers are significant as breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, but there is another important number to put these into perspective: The total number of women living in the United States today is over 120 million, or 120,000,000 numerically. Just over three million of these are breast cancer survivors (including women who are still being treated and those who have completed treatment).
It is a dangerous disease and should be taken seriously, but it is by no means a death sentence thanks to advances in medicine and in improving understanding of the relationship of cancer to the body.
What Is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast start to grow out of control. These cells often form a tumor, which may be felt as a lump or seen on an x-ray. The tumor is considered cancer (malignant) if the cells invade surrounding tissues or metastasize to farther areas of the body. While the disease occurs predominantly in women, it is possible for men to get it.
Most breast cancers start in the milk ducts (ductal cancers) while others start in the glands that make breast milk (lobular cancers). There are also other, less common, forms. It is important to note that not all cause a lump in the breast, so being aware of other signs and symptoms is valuable. Any lump or change (even if just in appearance) needs to be checked by a doctor.
Mutations in DNA can cause normal breast cells to become cancerous. Certain DNA changes can be inherited from parents and can greatly increase a person’s breast cancer risk. Other risk factors include lifestyle factors such as your level of exercise and what you eat. While research is still being in conducted in this area, there is a consensus that eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding any known risk factors can help reduce one’s risk. Hormones are also said to play a role in many cases.
How It Spreads
When cancer cells get into the lymph or blood system, it can be carried to other parts of the body. Your lymph system is a network of lymphatic vessels throughout the body that connect lymph nodes and carry lymph fluid, helping rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system, however, is to transport the lymph fluid, which contains white blood cells, throughout the body.
Know Your Risk, Own Your Health
Being well-informed about any risks to your good health is important, not just for shaping your lifestyle, but in decisions for the future. That’s where we come in! At reveal23, we are committed to providing individuals with affordable access to genetic cancer testing so you can find out what your DNA says about your health. To order your testing kit, or to find out more about genetic testing, visit our website today: https://reveal23.com/.