Every three minutes another Canadian is faced with fighting cancer.
Are you concerned about cancer prevention? In many cases, what we are learning about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, what is known is that your chances of developing cancer can be affected by the lifestyle choices you make.
To inform our community during this “Daffodil Month”, the Agassiz Community Health Centre, along with its partners, will be hosting a public information day on Tuesday, Apr. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the public library. On site will be health professionals and many informational materials you can take home to read about cancer prevention.
So, if you are really concerned about reducing your cancer risk, some simple lifestyle changes can make a difference.
Don’t use tobacco; smoking and chewing tobacco has been linked to various types of cancer such as those of the lungs, kidneys, bladder, pancreas and oral cavity.
Eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats. And, if you choose to use alcohol, use it in moderation because it increases cancer risk.
Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. This might decrease your risk of cancers like breast, lung, prostate, kidney, and colon.
Protect yourself from the sun. Skin cancer is one of the more common ones and one of the most preventable.
Avoid risky behaviours that can lead to infections with sexually transmitted viruses such as HIV and HPV. Both viruses are associated with particular cancers.
Finally, getting checked and screened for various types of cancer such as cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast can increase your chances of discovering cancer early – when treatment is most likely to be successful.
You can ask your doctor about the best screening schedule for you. Generally, early detection for breast cancer in a woman starts with a self exam in her twenties. In her twenties and thirties a doctor should clinically examine her breasts every three years; in her forties is the time to start having a mammogram and clinical examination every year. To detect cervical cancer early, a woman should start having yearly pap tests at age 21 or within three years of first sexual contact; this includes touching and intercourse.
Screening for colon and rectal cancer in women starts at the age of 50. This involves a physical examination and a fecal occult blood test every year.
Like women, men should also be screened for rectal and colon cancer starting at the age of 50. Men at risk for prostate cancer should be tested starting at the age of 45. By the time a man reaches the age of 50, he should be offered a digital rectal examination and information about the pros and cons of having a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
You can do so much personally to reduce your risk of cancer. All cancers cannot be prevented; many factors, including genes, family history and environmental factors, affect cancer risk. But, if you know that there are steps you can take to lower your chances of getting cancer, why wouldn’t you take them?
– submitted by Agassiz Community Health