Dads deserve the attention, accolades and gifts they get each Father’s Day. They also should give themselves and their families a gift in return: a lifelong dedication to healthy living.
That includes adopting healthy habits that help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Cancer is a complex disease. Your risk of developing cancer isn’t based only on genetics or family history, although they do play a role. Have you ever wondered how much lifestyle affects cancer risk? Research shows that half of all cancer today could be prevented by practicing healthy habits. Start by adopting one or two healthy behaviors.
Once you’ve gotten those down, move on to others:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a healthy diet
- Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all
- Protect yourself from the sun
- Get screening tests
Healthy Weight & Good Nutrition. Less Cancer.
There are several research-proven ways to lower your cancer risk! One way is by maintaining a healthy weight. Not sure how to begin? First focus on not gaining more weight, then on eating a healthier diet and exercising to achieve a healthy weight. Ask a health care provider for tips on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Check out these sites for healthy recipe options:
More Exercise. Less Cancer.
Regular exercise – just 30 minutes each day – will lower your risk of developing cancer. Whether you’re running on a treadmill or walking around the block, it all counts. Encourage your whole family to get up and move together. Exercise is especially important for cancer survivors. For some cancers, regular physical activity may lower the risk of recurrence and eliminate the risk of other chronic diseases. Visit http://eatsmartmovemoresc.org and click on Let’s Go! for information on parks and trails, and other resources.
Fight Cancer. Don’t Smoke.
Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage, including key genes that protect us against cancer. For cancer patients, studies also find that smoking hinders cancer treatment. For help with smoking, contact the SC Tobacco Quitline.
Most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Three screening tests have been studied to see if they decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer: 1) Low-dose spiral CT scan (LDCT scan), 2) Chest X-ray; and 3) Sputum cytology. Screening with low-dose spiral CT scans has been shown to decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer in heavy smokers. Screening with chest X-rays and/or sputum cytology does not decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer. Talk with your doctor about the risks of lung cancer screening.
More Education. Less Cancer.
There is no standard or routine screening test for prostate cancer. Talk with your doctor about the digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) for prostate cancer. The South Carolina Cancer Alliance is a resource for education trainings and opportunities. Visit their website for patient care information and volunteer opportunities.
More Screenings. Less Cancer.
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.
Screenings are essential to catching some cancers early and can help prevent existing cancers from spreading. Speak with your doctor about tests to detect colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in men (after prostate cancer and lung cancer).
Prevention. Less Cancer
Cancer prevention starts with education, screening, and a healthy lifestyle. Take control of your health, and encourage your family to do the same.
Happy Father’s Day.