“You have Cancer” are the words you never want to hear. It can turn your world upside down and leave you feeling like nothing will ever be the same. Sadly, those three words are uttered time and time again each day. Last year, roughly 1.8 million people were diagnosed with cancer in the United States and an estimated 606,880 people lost their battle to some form of cancer. 

While you cannot change your genetics and predisposition for cancer when it comes to hereditary markers, there are certain lifestyle choices that can help prevent cancer. February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, about half of the most common cancer cases are preventable. While making healthy lifestyle changes is not exactly foolproof, they can significantly reduce your risk. Being physically active decreases the risk of postmenopausal breast, colorectal, and endometrial cancers. 

Just 30-minutes of Daily Activity Helps:

  • Regulate blood levels of hormones that contribute to cancer risks.
  • Speed food through the colon, reducing exposure to dietary carcinogens. 
  • Prevent the build-up of body fat, a cause of many cancers. 

Steps you can take NOW:

While certain lifestyle changes need time to become effective in the prevention of certain cancers, some steps can be taken immediately to reduce your risk. 
  • Don’t use tobacco
  • Get sufficient physical activity
  • Eat healthy foods in moderation
  • Participate in cancer screening according to recommended guidelines 

Lifestyle Changes:

If you don’t use tobacco, the best thing you can do to prevent cancer and reduce your risk is to maintain a healthy body weight. One-third of all cancer deaths in the U.S. each year are linked to diet and exercise, including being overweight or obese. Here are some other ways you can make a difference to cut your risk. 
  • Limit sedentary behavior 
  • Try to incorporate more plant-based foods in your diet
  • Women age 40 and older should have an annual mammogram and cervical cancer screening
  • Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should use one of the screening tests. 
  1. Flexible sigmoidoscopy (every 5-years)
  2. Colonoscopy (every 10-years)
  3. Double-contrast barium enema (every 5 years)
  4. CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy, every 5 years)
  5. Check your skin for changes and get regular skin cancer screenings
  6. Maintain an open dialog with your family physician and get regular health exams

At Joliet Oncology-Hematology Associates, Ltd., we strive to provide the most comprehensive treatments available.  To learn more about services and screenings that JOHA can provide, browse our website online, contact us via email, visit our Facebook page or call our main office to learn more (815)725-1355.