Dr Sylvia shares some thoughts on what you can do to Cancer-proof yourself today......
Cancer means an abnormal growth of cells in the body.
Any of the body's organs can be affected with Cancer.
It could happen at any age - though appears more common as people grow older.
While there are no definitive cures for cancer yet, treatments and interventions have provided some benefits including:
- interrupting the growth of aggressive cancer cells and
- delaying, and in some cases preventing death and disability from cancer progression.
A lot of these treatments can be expensive and not accessible especially if you live in a low and middle-income
Another huge problem is with the early identification of changes that indicate the presence of cancer - which could happen when or if you cannot access prompt health care and advice.
Finally, knowledge of what genetic factors and lifestyle behaviours that can be associated with cancer
This knowledge can help reduce your risks for developing cancer, and ideally, everyone should be equipped with this information.
How to Cancer-Proof yourself.
I think some of the key things to know and do are:
- Health Awareness
- Age-appropriate screening
- Healthy living - Diet, Exercise, Avoiding Stress
- Promptly address new symptoms
Health Awareness - Be Health Aware
- Know your personal and family medical background where possible.
- Be interested in learning accurate health information.
- Subscribe to health newsletters.
- Now, sometimes the cancer genes run in families so if you have a family history of cancer, you can have a screening plan early on.
Age Appropriate Screening
Firstly, a screening plan simply means looking for the earliest signs of a disease before it can fully manifest in order to prevent or limit its expression.
In some parts of the world, there are formal screening programs such as the NHS England Cervical Screening program.
A good screening program is one that is easy to carry out, widely available and if positive the facilities to offer appropriate treatment are available.
So this can apply to Breast checks (both mammogram and breast self-exam) and cervical screening for ladies or prostate screening for guys, etc
It's not possible to screen for all types of cancers, but checking yourself regularly as you grow older could help early identification of disease and treatment.
There's no getting past it - an unhealthy lifestyle is associated with cancer.
Obesity, alcohol and smoking are some habits that are associated with serious medical problems including cancer.
Eating a healthy balanced diet and drinking plenty of water will encourage a healthy weight.
Tips - Encourage vegetables and salads; proteins are good; reduce or avoid sugar and moderate fat and carbohydrate consumption.
Drink plenty of water
Avoid smoking and minimise alcohol consum
Stress can impact on your productivity and affects the immune system.
It's important to ensure you get enough rest and sleep every day and consciously avoid toxic situations and relationships or burnout.
Respond promptly to NEW symptoms
Pay attention to changes in your body - for example:
• Vaginal bleeding in between periods or after sex and after the
• Felt a breast
• Bleeding in stool or urine?
• 'Always coughing a lot' or cough not getting better after 2-3weeks?
• Weight Loss that you just can’t explain?
• Back pain that just started 'somehow' and isn’t going away or is getting worse?
• Always having headaches - you put
These are a few examples of what you should do/know.
Not all the symptoms automatically mean Cancer, but they should be checked out.
Most times the cause of Cancer is UNKNOWN but there are some associations.
Few examples: Cancer type and Association:
•Breast - genetic/ hormones/overweight/Unknown
•Lung - cigarette/ asbestos/unknown
•Cervix - HPV infection, smoking, m
•Ovarian - genetic, hormones, smoking, overweight/u
•Liver - a
•Pancreas - alcohol /u
•Stomach - diet type, processed food, genetics
I believe if you observe these tips, you will be closer to reducing the risk of developing cancer as much as possibly lies within your control.
Share any other ideas for living a cancer-proof life in the comments!
Thanks for reading.
Edited by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through firstname.lastname@example.org