Ask Dr. Renee: Do You Know How To Prevent Cancer?

June 18, 2015  |  

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These days we here about people younger and younger being diagnosed with different types of cancer. Unfortunately, we also have been hearing about lots of deaths from cancer as well. I recently watched the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary and several of the African-American female cast members that were in the memorial died of different cancers. It’s important for us to remember that some of these diseases can be prevented. Science is evolving daily on what exactly causes and prevents cancer.  So here are some tips that will hopefully keep you, your friends and your family cancer-free.

 

Quit smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you and can cause lung cancer. According to the American Lung Association, secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 deaths from lung cancer.  You have to be mindful of the activity of others around you. If you are a smoker, the sooner you can stop the better. That way the lungs can repair themselves and once again function properly. This hits home for me because someone very close to me who is not a smoker was diagnosed with lung cancer a couple years ago.

Exercise regularly

It is very important to exercise to not only manage your weight, but to prevent cancer as well. Studies have found that there are substantial health benefits to regular exercise. Strive to get at least 150 minutes a week in of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. If you can do more, even better. I am a huge fan of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) because many of us are busy with our careers and family and this type of training allows you to burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time. You do not have to go to a gym for this. You can do these exercises at home.

Use sunscreen

This tip may surprise many, but there are plenty of Black people that have been diagnosed with skin cancer and, unfortunately, have died as a result. To avoid skin cancer, the American Cancer Society suggests avoiding the sun in the middle of the day, staying in the shade whenever possible, covering exposed areas of your skin, using generous amounts of sunscreen and avoiding tanning beds and sunlamps.

Keep your immunizations up to date

This is a hot topic in the news right now, although the conversation is centered around kids. It is important to get immunized to prevent certain types of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is imperative that you have your Hepatitis B vaccination because it is often linked to liver cancer.  The Human Papilloma Virus vaccine is available for both men and women age 26 or younger who did not receive the vaccine as an adolescent. HPV is known to cause cervical cancer, but can also increase the risk of cancer of the anus, penis, throat, vulva and vagina.

Related article: Ask Dr. Renee: Should Virgins Get Pap Smears?

Do not share needles because there is a high incidence of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV, which can increase the risk of liver cancer.  If you have a drug problem, seek help to stop. Practice safe sex by limiting the number of sexual partners. The more sexual partners in a lifetime increases your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection such as HIV or HPV. These infections can lead to higher risk of cancer of the anus, liver and lung cancer.

Doctor visits

Regular doctor visits will allow you to receive screenings for various types of cancer. If you do self-exams and get your health screenings, then you increase your chances of finding cancer early leading to a favorable outcome.

Eat Healthy

Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans will help you reduce your cancer risk. Fiber is especially important when preventing colon cancer.  Try not to eat too many high-fat foods because they are higher in calories and might lead to obesity, which can be linked to an increased risk of cancer. Cancer cells like to feed off of fat tissue. Alcohol consumption is fine in moderation.  But large amounts of alcohol consumption increase the risk of breast, colon, lung, kidney and liver cancer.

 

Hopefully, you are already doing these things to live your best life now. If not, try and make some small changes so that you can live long enough to make all your dreams come true. If you would like to learn more about health, wellness and how to live your best life, please visit me at http://www.AskDrRenee.info.

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