One out of two cancers can be prevented. Does that fact surprise you? During April, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month, take the opportunity to learn more about cancer and your particular risk of developing it. Prevention and vigilance are the best ways to reduce your chances of becoming one of the sad statistics surrounding cancer.
Lifestyle is a major consideration in the prevention of this disease. The importance of not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke can never be overstated. And even though there is no single miracle food or exercise that is guaranteed to make us live longer, we do know that a healthy diet and regular physical activity improve our general state of health and help protect us from cancer.
Alcohol consumption also increases a person’s risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast, liver, mouth, esophageal, larynx, pharynx, and colo-rectal cancers. A guideline for reasonable alcohol consumption would be one drink per day for women and two for men. Smaller amounts and less frequency would be even better, as the less alcohol a person consumes — wine, beer, or spirits — the more their cancer risk decreases.
Avoiding exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight when they are at their strongest is another way to prevent cancer. Plan outdoor activities before 11:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. and use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Nevertheless, make sure you get enough vitamin D. Careful exposure to sunlight, the consumption of products enriched with vitamin D, and taking vitamin supplements will allow you to attain recommended levels.
Prevention is one thing, but vigilance is also very important. That means knowing your body and being attentive to any changes in your health. Since most cancers are highly treatable if caught at an early stage, vigilance also means talking about possible screening tests with your family doctor.
Hope = Research
Donating to cancer research is another way to participate in the fight against cancer. Through your donations, the Canadian Cancer Society is able to subsidize research into causes and treatments. That’s a good reason to give generously!