Odds are that cancer has affected or will affect your life at some point. The National Cancer Institute estimates that over 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. The good news? Advanced medicine is developing new, more effective ways to treat and prevent cancer all the time. Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself cancer-free.
- Routine screenings. Cancer is far more treatable when caught early. Beginning at age 40, men should have yearly prostate exams and colorectal exams. Women over 40 should receive annual mammograms and women over 20 should get yearly pap tests.
- Tell your doctor your family medical history. Cancer is often genetic. Your doctor might want to take different preventive measures if cancer runs in your family. Take their advice!
- Quit smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking cigarettes is the largest preventable cause of death in the world. Quitting with friends, downloading a smoking cessation smartphone app like SmokeFree and buying nicotine gum are all great places to start. Quitting isn’t easy, but it’s well worth the time. You can do it! The health benefits to quitting start almost immediately.
- 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure drop to normal levels.
- In just two to three weeks, your circulation gets better and your lungs start healing.
- After just five years, your risk of mouth, esophagus and throat cancer is halved.
- Monitor your diet. Cancer prevention is one reason nutritionists encourage at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Foods rich in Vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants protect your immune system, too. Peppers, berries, sweet potatoes and squash are all healthy options. The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a wide variety of anti-cancer recipes for you to try. Get cooking!
For more information, review the free cancer prevention and detection resources offered by the National Foundation for Cancer Research.
You should also make sure you know about covered cancer screenings and other preventive care services.
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