Vijendra: Manage your riskWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
As of Jan. 1, there were 14.5 million Americans who have had or are currently living with a cancer diagnosis.
That’s a staggering figure when you consider some of the preventative measures that can be taken to minimize the risk of cancer.
Making healthy lifestyle choices can decrease the chances of developing a nonhereditary cancer. Many major risk factors — like tobacco use, diet, physical activity, alcohol use and environmental exposures — can be managed.
Keep a diet rich in phytochemicals. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables like berries, grapes, apricots, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. Whole grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta are also important. Consider drinking black or green tea instead of soda, coffee and alcohol.
- Try to engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes five or more days per week, or vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three or more days per week.
- Limit sun exposure and wear sunscreen daily. Many moisturizers and cosmetics are now offered with an SPF rating.
- Avoid smoking and repeated and prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Avoid exposure to radon, lead and asbestos, or, if working in conditions that present regular exposure to these toxins, be sure to wear protective clothing and breathing gear.
- Staying up to date with recommended screenings and checkups allows for early detection of cancer or precancerous cells and is critical to prevention. It is important to note that screening guidelines are different for men and women and for different age groups.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should receive a breast exam during regular health checkups at least every three years.
- Women ages 40 and older should have an annual breast exam during regular health checkups and an annual mammogram.
- Women ages 21-29 should have a Pap test every three years.
- Women ages 30-65 should have a Pap test and an HPV test every five years.
- Men and women age 50 or older should have a colonoscopy every 10 years.
- Men age 50 or older should speak with their doctor to make an informed decision on whether or not to be tested.
- Men and women ages 50 -74, with a high risk of lung cancer should talk to their doctor to see if they could benefit from a lung cancer screening.
- Men and women, especially those over age 18, should always request a skin exam during regular health check-ups.
- To learn more about personal risk factors and the appropriate time for screenings, talk with your primary care physician.
Dr. Divya Vijendra is a physician with ProMedica Hematology/Oncology Associates. For more information, call (419) 824-6599 or visit www.promedica.org/cancer.