February: National Cancer Prevention Month
"According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1.9 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. Nearly half of those diagnoses are breast, prostate, lung, pancreas, or colon cancers. And yet, more than 40 percent of all cancer diagnoses can be linked to a preventable cause – nearly half." Visit this site for more information where this statistic was drawn.
Many might ask what can we do to prevent cancer, or is cancer even preventable? These days it feels like just about everything causes cancer. The battle with skin cancer and certain sunscreens is one debate for the books alone. I know that most "approved/non-cancer linked" sunscreens do not work on my children who have extremely fair skin. But then the ones that actually DO work, are supposedly linked to cancer causing agents. SO-I for one have had to battle with the lesser of two evils, use the sunscreen that DOES NOT prevent sunburn effectively but it's got all approved ingredients, OR use the sunscreen that has "bad ingredients" yet it protects the heck out of my kids getting burnt. What do I do???
Its exhausting reading one article after another about things that cause cancer and we can't live in a bubble all of the time, but there ARE things we can do to minimize our risks and I'd like to review those here and encourage you to take action for your health.
Eat Healthy Foods: Fueling your body with nutrient rich foods that come from natural resources (not processed, not canned, not combined with a bunch of fake ingredients, etc.) will make a huge difference in your health and minimizing cancer risks.
Exercise regularly: The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week (or a combination of these). You can get in the recommended activity levels by just walking on your lunch break for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Click this link and ready all of the research that supports exercise and cancer prevention.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: You may be surprised to learn that being overweight or having obesity are linked with a higher risk of getting multiple types of cancer. Try and maintain a BMI (body mass index) between 18.5 and 25.9. Click this article for more information on body weight and cancer.
Quite Smoking or Never Start Smoking: Smoking can cause cancer in just about everywhere in the body. It's the single worst preventable habit one can do linked to cancer. Click here for more information on smoking and cancer links.
Limit or Eliminate Alcohol Use: Despite what you hear about alcohol being good for you in moderation, it's an artificial toxin, period. It's linked to multiple cancers and bottom line, it's a preventable habit you can either eliminate or minimize to reduce your cancer risks. Click here for more information on alcohol and cancer. We live in a society where alcohol is acceptable and glamorized, but that doesn't take away the fact that it's still a toxin in all forms and it's still cancer causing. Becoming sober or switching to NA beverages is a rising trend and you will see more and more mocktails available in restaurants if you start paying attention as well as start asking what they offer. Click here for some delicious NA options and don't hesitate to ask your local liquor store to start carrying NA beer/wine/spirits. Many of them carry a growing selection now...you just didn't know it was there.
All of these things are PREVENTABLE ways you can reduce your cancer risks. Some forms of cancer are simply hereditary, genetic, or come about for reasons we cannot explain. However, knowing these 5 simple habits can help us reduce our cancer risks should be reasons to make changes in your health.
I challenge you to move forward starting NOW and start taking control of your health. Make a promise to yourself to eat better, exercise more (both of which will result in a healthier weight), quite or don't ever start smoking, and limit or eliminate alcohol! These habits are just that, habits. They can be broken.
Mind over Matter
You can do it. Start now. Take control and make better choices for yourself and for your loved ones.