April is Cancer Control Month. According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, the incidence of cancer throughout the world can be reduced by 30 to 40% by practical lifestyle changes, including diet, physical activity and body mass index. This could be reduced further by not using tobacco, protecting from sun exposure and getting immunized.
Did you know?
• One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
• There are more than 100 types of known cancers.
• The top five types of cancer that kill men (worldwide) are lung, stomach, liver, colorectal, and esophagus.
• The top five types of cancer that kill women (worldwide) are breast, lung, stomach, colorectal, and cervical.
Six Ways to Reduce Your Cancer Risk
1. Don't use any form of tobacco, and avoid secondhand smoke.
Smoking has been linked to various types of cancer, including cancer of the lung, bladder, cervix, and kidney. Chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Exposure to secondhand smoke may cause an increased risk of lung cancer.
2. Eat a healthy, plant-based diet.
Eating a healthy diet may help reduce the risk for certain types of cancer. You can reduce your risk by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables (up to 10 servings daily), limiting fat intake, limiting salt use and drinking alcohol in moderation.
3. Achieve or maintain a healthy weight and be physically active every day.
Maintaining a healthy weight may lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney. Set aside at least 30 minutes each day to be physically active. Try a fitness class, rediscover a favorite sport or meet a friend for daily brisk walks.
4. Protect yourself from the sun.
Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer -- and one of the most preventable. Stay out of the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun's rays are strongest. Use generous amounts of sunscreen and stay in the shade as much as possible. Wear sunglasses and broad-rimmed hats and protect your skin by wearing tightly-woven, loose-fitting clothing. Tanning beds are just as damaging as natural sunlight.
5. Get immunized.
Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections:
Hepatits B vaccine
Protects against Hepatits B, a serious disease that can increase the risk of developing liver cancer. This vaccine is a one time, three-dose series and is recommended for adults who may have an increased risk of exposure based on occupation, travel, health conditions or lifestyle.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
Prevents the most common types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine, which is a one time, three-dose series, is recommended for individuals age 19 through 26, who have not been previously vaccinated.
6. Take early detection seriously - - know what you need and when to get it.
When risk factors and disease are detected early, the course of treatment is more successful, less painful, and less costly. Regular self-exams and professional screening for cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix, and breast can increase your chances of discovering cancer early. Ask your doctor about the best cancer screening schedule for you. Log on to your Highmark Member website at www.highmarkblueshield.com and download the current Preventive Care Schedule.
*Information taken from Highmark's April "Healthy Highlights".
Cindi Dinger, on behalf of the Wellness Committee