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Creating a Lifestyle that Prevents & Controls Cancer

Cancer Control Awareness Month has arrived! This is the ideal time to initiate a proactive stance in cancer prevention and control. We’ll outline harmful habits and their role in cancer development, healthy tips for cancer prevention, and strategies to stay cancer-free for individuals with a history of cancer. Spring into cancer control and wellness, with a lifestyle that proclaims health!

Harmful Habits and Their Role in Cancer: 

1. Smoking & Chewing Tobacco. Tobacco carries harmful effects to ones health regardless if it's smoked, chewed, or exposed through second hand smoking. Smoking can cause respiratory diseases and cancers that originate in the mouth, as well as throughout the respiratory tract. The Mayo Clinic documents 9 out of 10 lung cancer cases as the result of smoking, along with other respiratory conditions like emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

The Mayo Clinic comments further on the harmful effects of tobacco mentioning:

Tobacco smoke contains more than 60 known cancer-causing chemicals and thousands of other harmful substances. Even "all natural" or herbal cigarettes have chemicals that are harmful to your health. When you inhale tobacco smoke, you take in these chemicals, which reach most of your body's vital organs.

The risk of cancer linked to tobacco is not limited to smokers; people who chew tobacco products are at danger of developing mouth and throat cancers. Visit the Mayo Clinic to learn more on harmful effects of tobacco.

2. Excessive alcohol intake. Large amounts of alcohol have been known to damage liver cells, which leads to cirrhosis or liver damage. Other health effects include depression, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), blood clots, abnormal heart rhythms, and more. You may be wondering what classifies as heavy drinking? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking for men is 15 drinks or more drinks in one week. For women, heavy drinking is 8 drinks or more in one week.

WebMD shares some harmful effects of high alcohol consumption:

Scientists believe the increased risk comes when the body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, a potent carcinogen. Cancer sites linked to alcohol use include the mouth, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), esophagus, liver, breast, and colorectal region. Cancer risk rises even higher in heavy drinkers who also use tobacco.

3. Ingestion of carcinogenic ingredients.  In addition to alcohol, some preservatives are being studied as potential carcinogenic or cancer-causing agents. Although there is much debate, many health experts advise individuals to refrain form preservatives like BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) and BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole). With such uncertainty to the carcinogenic effects of these preservatives, it’s best to refrain from products containing BHT and BHA.

4. Environmental factors and workplace exposure. Certain environments place individuals at greater chance of developing cancer. High-polluted cities and occupations were workers are exposed to asbestos and other harmful substances are examples of such environments. 

Healthy Lifestyle Tips:

1. Schedule annual examinations and cancer screening exams. Discuss with your practitioner which tests are recommend for your age group. For more information on annual tests suggested for people over 60, click here.

2. Maintain physically active with a exercise regimen that fits your lifestyle and health needs.  Not everyone can tolerate 30 minutes of intense aerobic spinning classes. Discuss with your physician which exercise regimen is best for you. Many trainers suggest increasing the intensity over a period of time, rather than going full-force on your first few exercise sessions. There are many exercise programs depending on individual preference such as yoga, tai chi, aerobic classes, jogging, swimming, weight training, and more.

3. Apply sunscreen first thing in the morning and as needed if intending to be out in the sun. It is recommended to use sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher. With water activities, keep in mind that water and sweat can wash off sunscreen limiting its protective purpose. To be safe, re-apply sunscreen after immersing in water or as needed. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has been linked to cancers like melanoma and other skin conditions. Taking a few minutes to apply sunscreen is a healthy approach to protecting your skin.

4. Get the stats on your family history. Many cancers are traced back to a genetic predispositions. Ask your immediate family about their health history, and notify your physician of any family history of cancer. In such cases, early screening can be ordered as a precautions measure.

Cancer Control Tips for Individuals With a History of Cancer:

1. Report any abnormal signs and symptoms to your physician in a timely manner. Prompt assessments and interventions, yield better chances of targeting cancer in the early stages.

2. Adhere to the medication regimen & scheduled exams. For medications to have optimal benefits, they must be taken at the right time and consistently as prescribed. Also, keeping scheduled exams are crucial in monitoring progress and efficiency of the treatment plan. Staying informed with your current health status is a powerful and active role in wellness and wellbeing. 

3. Learn about your cancer risks and family history. We’ve all heard that “knowledge is power”, and indeed it is! Get the most current facts and information on cancer risks and your family history. These are positive steps in promoting a cancer-free lifestyle.

4. Expand your resources. There are many resources available to the public. Visit a local library to classes, books, educational videos, periodicals, and more. Also, the Internet has a plethora of information offering educational articles and references. Many physicians and specialist also distribute informational flyers and other resource materials to interested clients.

 

* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions. 

 

 

 

 

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Yeneilyn is a Registered Nurse in the state of Florida since 2006. Her nursing practice began in the field of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital and expanded to care for clients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She was provided the opportunity as LPN Instructor, which changed the course of her nursing career. She states, “Teaching nursing students expanded my view on positive influences nurses contribute beyond beside care. Nurses are central leaders in health education, client advocacy, and disease prevention.” Currently, Yeneilyn writes health articles and prepares Continuing Education (C.E.) courses for healthcare professionals. She continues her studies in the field of Nursing Education and evidenced-based nursing practice. In her free time she enjoys sharing time with family and friends.


For questions or topics of interest contact Nurse Yenny at: nurseyenny@gmail.com    


 


 


 

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