PHILADELPHIA (December 18, 2015) – With 2016 fast approaching, Fox Chase Cancer Center – Temple Health encourage all individuals to start taking steps that could help reduce their risk for cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more than one million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year. Fortunately, individuals can help to prevent cancer by making healthy lifestyle choices and getting regular recommended cancer screenings. Consider these tips:
Get regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
Regular check-ups and cancer screenings can increase one’s chances of discovering cancer at its earliest stages, when no symptoms exist and when cancer may be treated more effectively. “I encourage all individuals to talk with their physician about cancer screenings and determine when they should have certain screenings,” says John M. Daly, MD, FACS, FRCSI (Hon), Attending Surgeon at Fox Chase. Screening tests are available for various types of cancers—including breast, colorectal, prostate and cervical cancers. “If you’re concerned about your risk or your family’s risk of cancer, you may wish to make an appointment with Fox Chase’s Risk Assessment Program,” adds Dr. Daly.
Achieve and maintain and healthy weight throughout your life.
Be active. “Individuals who lead physically active lifestyles have a lower risk of certain cancers than those who are sedentary,” says Dr. Daly. “A balance of diet and exercise can help you stay at a healthy weight today and into your future.” The ACS recommends adults should aim for no less than 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. Any combination works, as long the time duration is met within a seven-day span.
Eat healthy, and make plant foods part of your diet. The ACS notes that individuals should eat at least two and a half cups of fruits and vegetables every day, opt for whole grains over refined grains, and limit their intake of processed and red meat. For those who drink alcohol, women should limit themselves to one drink per day and men to two drinks per day.
Avoid smoking, stay away from tobacco.
According to the ACS, tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths, causing 87% of lung cancer deaths in men and 70% of lung cancer deaths in women. In addition to lung cancer, tobacco use increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, lips, nose and sinuses, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary (certain types) and certain types of leukemia.
“Quitting smoking is the best thing anyone can do to help prevent cancer, no matter what their age or how long they’ve smoked,” says Dr. Daly. “Secondhand smoke is equally harmful to one’s health.” According to the ACS, secondhand smoke is responsible for about 42,000 deaths from heart disease in Americans who are current non-smokers.
Protect yourself from the sun.
Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays may increase one’s risk for skin cancer. Even in winter, the sun’s UV rays can damage your skin. “Staying in the shade is the most sensible, obvious precaution,” says Dr. Daly. “When you’re out in the sun, wear sunscreen, protective clothing, and sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.” Research shows long hours in the sun without eye protection can increase one’s chances of developing certain eye diseases.
The ACS recommends sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection – against both UVA and UVB rays – and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher. The ACS also warns against sun lamps and tanning beds. Tanning bed use has been linked with an increased risk of melanoma, the most serious and life-threatening type of skin cancer.
Learn more about cancer risk and resources at Fox Chase by visiting foxchase.org.