Harvard Medical School Offers Tips on Preventing Cancer
Every month, various national and international organizations dedicated to cancer research, treatment, education, and care choose an “issue” on which to focus. February has the distinction of being “Cancer Prevention Month.”
Statistics show that approximately one-third of Americans will develop some type of cancer during their lifetime. This is a startling statistic but, thanks to early detection and a better understanding of the causes of many cancers, treatments are often successful. Researchers at Harvard’s School of Public Health “estimate that up to 75% of American cancer deaths can be prevented.”
Prevent Cancer Deaths by Preventing Cancer
Numerous factors contribute to the development of cancer. Genetics, mutations, toxins in the environment, viruses, and more. Researchers continue to seek definitive answers to the questions about what causes many types of cancers.
February is the time, however, to educate people about how they might obtain a measure of control over their risks of developing cancer. Events take place throughout February that highlight steps people can take to reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.
Harvard Medical School published a guide in 2009, which was updated in October 2019. Here is what, in summary, the writer calls “The 10 commandments of cancer prevention.”
- Avoid Tobacco
- Eat Properly
- Exercise Regularly
- Stay Lean
- Limit Alcohol
- Avoid Exposure to Radiation
- Avoid Toxins
- Avoid Cancer-Causing Viruses
- Get Vitamin D
- Get Adequate Sleep
Early Detection is Important to Increase Your Chance of Survival
Preventing cancer is not always possible. But, when cancer is detected in its early stages, treatment is often more tolerable and has better long-term results. The American Cancer Society created a reminder so that people can be on alert and recognize symptoms that may be related to a variety of cancers.
The key is to use CAUTION:
- C: Change in bladder or bowel habits
- A: A wound that does not heal
- U: Unusual discharge or bleeding
- T: Thickening or lump in the breast or another part of the body
- I: Indigestion or trouble swallowing
- O: Obvious change in a mole or wart or freckle
- N: Nagging cough or horse-ness when speaking
This list is a rough guide, at best, of red flags that might indicate a deeper problem. It is not in any way inclusive of symptoms that should make you consider seeing a medical professional.
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