Cancer prevention Tips

The benefits of a healthy lifestyle and risk assessment

According to the American Cancer Society, up to two-thirds of all cancer cases could be prevented if people applied everything known about cancer prevention to their lives. By committing to a healthier lifestyle, you can reduce your risks for many cancers.

Maintain a healthy diet
Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day, choose whole grains over processed (refined) grains and limit your intake of processed and red meats. If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your intake; no more than one drink per day for women or two for men.

The benefits of a healthy lifestyle and risk assessment

According to the American Cancer Society, up to two-thirds of all cancer cases could be prevented if people applied everything known about cancer prevention to their lives. By committing to a healthier lifestyle, you can reduce your risks for many cancers.

Maintain a healthy diet
Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day, choose whole grains over processed (refined) grains and limit your intake of processed and red meats. If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your intake; no more than one drink per day for women or two for men.

Exercise
Include 30-45 minutes of activity five or more days a week. Obesity is clearly linked with an increased risk of developing several types of cancer including breast and colon cancer, so maintain a healthy weight throughout life.

Don’t smoke (and avoid secondhand smoke)
Smoking is responsible for 87 percent of all lung cancer cases. Besides lung cancer, tobacco use also causes increased risk for many other cancers such as cancer of the mouth, nasal cavities (nose), larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and uterine cervix. 

Avoid excessive sun exposure
Avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm. If you must be outside, wear a hat, shirt, pants and sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater.

Early detection of cancer is important
Detecting cancer early is essential as it can greatly increase the chances of a successful treatment. Get screened for cancer regularly. There are regular screening tests that are recommended for different cancers. Be aware of your body and pay attention to any unusual changes. If you find any abnormalities consult your doctor immediately for further examination.

Knowing your family history of cancer is important to properly assess your risk factor for certain types of cancer. Let your doctor know your family history of cancer and discuss for a suitable screening plan in order to detect cancer early.

Precautions for Cervical Cancer

Empowering women against cervical cancer Precautions for the threat of a prevalent disease

Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer detected in women. The most important risk factor in the development of cervical cancer is infection with a high-risk strain of human papilloma virus (HPV).

Cervical HPV infection is extremely common in sexually-active young women; HPV types 16 and 18 are the two HPV strains currently responsible for approximately 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases worldwide.

The development of cervical cancer is gradual and begins as a pre-cancerous condition called dysplasia. In this form it is 100 percent curable, usually without the need for a hysterectomy. Dysplasia, depending on its severity, can be resolved without treatment, but may progress to actual cancer, known as ‘carcinoma in situ’ (CIS) when it has not yet spread, or ‘microinvasive’ where the maximum depth of invasion is less than 3mm.

Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer detected in women. The most important risk factor in the development of cervical cancer is infection with a high-risk strain of human papilloma virus (HPV).

Cervical HPV infection is extremely common in sexually-active young women; HPV types 16 and 18 are the two HPV strains currently responsible for approximately 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases worldwide.

The development of cervical cancer is gradual and begins as a pre-cancerous condition called dysplasia. In this form it is 100 percent curable, usually without the need for a hysterectomy. Dysplasia, depending on its severity, can be resolved without treatment, but may progress to actual cancer, known as ‘carcinoma in situ’ (CIS) when it has not yet spread, or ‘microinvasive’ where the maximum depth of invasion is less than 3mm.

This process may take many years, but once the cancer is established it spreads further into nearby tissues, usually the adjacent pelvic tissues and drainage lymph nodes. When more advanced it may spread to other organs such as the intestines, liver and lungs.

Early stages can be treated with a radical hysterectomy or radiation therapy, which include both external and internal methods of radiation treatment. A patient treated with surgery who exhibits high risk features is given radiation therapy with chemotherapy in order to reduce the risk of relapse before the surgery.

Vaccines are available to help protect against HPV. The vaccine Cervaix, one of the first preventive vaccines explicitly developed to protect against HPV types 16 and 18, is on the market. 

An effective approach to early detection of pre-cancerous cells is a proper and regular pap smear, involving a swab and examination of cells from the cervix and uterine cavity. Often a single pap smear is not enough and may not show any abnormal cells even when dysplasia or cancer is present.

If the pap smear’s results suggest dysplasia or if the cervix appears abnormal, further examination of the cervix is required and biopsies of suspicious sites are taken.

One key thing to remember is that pre-cancers are completely curable when treated and followed up properly. Survival with CIS and even microinvasive cervical cancer is also nearly 100 percent. Experts recommend that women should combine the benefits of both methods with regular pap smear screening even after the HPV vaccination.

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