Thinking ahead is one of the best prevention methods to combatting cancer.
That’s the advice according to William Nelson, director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University. Nelson recently took part in a Quora Q&A session where he answered cancer-related questions from the public.
Nelson’s session was full of information to help cancer patients and their caregivers understand the disease, as well as to give people, especially young adults, the tools to reduce their risk of cancer.
Unhealthy Practices to Avoid
While summertime tanning may be a favorite pastime for many young people, Nelson emphasized the danger of such practices. Overexposure to the sun or — even worse — to tanning beds can put people at much higher risk for skin cancer. In fact, Nelson said, tanning-bed users are nearly 60 percent more likely to develop skin cancer than people who have never used such equipment. So, limit your sun exposure and, when you will be out in the rays, make sure to lather up the sunblock!
Another avoidable unhealthy habit is tobacco use. People who smoke are about 25 times more likely than non-smokers to develop lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths for Americans. The best way to reduce that statistic is to not become a tobacco user, even a casual one. Or, if you are, to take steps to quit immediately.
Embracing Healthy Habits
In addition to staying away from some harmful behaviors, Nelson suggested a few positive habits young people can develop that will also help reduce their risk for cancer.
Weight control was among the most important. Eating well — including natural, low-fat and low-sugar foods — can keep waistlines in check. The leaner the body is, Nelson said, the lower the risk for cancer.
That aim can be supported by exercise. Just 30 minutes of physical activity per day can promote weight control — in addition to helping you feel and look your best!
Nelson noted that healthy practices like weight control and exercise can reduce cancer risk by up to 15 percent. He also had advice to help cancer patients: Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can reduce the risk for cancer mortality by up to 25 percent! So even after a diagnosis, it’s still important to adopt healthy habits.
Make Health Care a Priority
Going to the doctor may not be a top priority for young people, but Nelson suggested that regular health-care appointments can also be a way to combat cancer risk.
Both men and women should be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B, conditions that can cause cancer. They should also schedule regular health screenings to ensure no abnormalities.
Knowing one’s body, and any changes, can be an important resource in cancer prevention. Following a healthy lifestyle takes a commitment – but it’s one that will pay off in the future!
At LifeCredit, we have our own commitment: to help cancer patients overcome the stress and struggles of a diagnosis. We provide financial assistance to allow people to meet the burden of cancer treatment and focus on getting healthy. We’re here for anyone who needs our services but, by thinking about your health early and often, you can reduce your risk of even needing that helping hand.