You must do your part to reduce your risk of developing cancer.
No ifs and or butts, smoking causes cancer!
Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable cancer death in this country. The Centers for Disease Control reports that it is known to cause cancer of the blood (acute myeloid leukemia), bladder, cervix, colon and rectum, esophagus, kidney, larynx, liver, lungs, bronchi and trachea, mouth and throat, pancreas, stomach. (1)
Smoking or using tobacco products increases the risk of developing cancers of the mouth, esophagus, and pancreas.
The Centers for Disease Control describes secondhand smoke as exposure from burning tobacco products or smoke exhaled by a person smoking. Secondhand smoke causes health problems, including a 20-30% increased risk for people who have never smoked. (2)
There are many resources to help people stop smoking. An excellent place to start is by visiting Smokefree.gov or Ashline.org (Arizona Smokers Helpline) for access to free information and resources to help you quit smoking. (3,4)
(2) Secondhand Smoke
(4) ASHLINE -Arizona Smokers' Helpline
Obesity is linked to cancer.
Obesity rates are increasing, with over one-third of adults and approximately one in six children in the United States being obese.
Being overweight or obese can also put a person at greater risk for many diseases, including:
high blood pressure
According to the American Cancer Society, being overweight or obese is linked to an overall increased risk of certain cancers compared to people with a healthy weight. Being overweight is linked with breast cancers (in women past menopause), colon and rectum, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, and pancreas. (1)
Being overweight or obese is linked to an overall increased risk of cancer. According to research from the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 8% of all cancers in the United States and about 7% of all cancer deaths. (2)
(1) Obesity Rates Continue to Rise Among Adults in the US
(2) Does Body Weight Affect Cancer Risk?
Make healthy choices in your diet.
Learning some ways that you can incorporate more healthy choices in your diet is a good place to begin making a difference. Here's a good place to start: MyPlate.gov.
Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet each day.
Get regular exercise
Staying active and regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight, lowering your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
For most adults, the recommendation is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. It's never too late to start exercising, but if you're not currently active, it's important to discuss with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Know your family history
Your family's health history can hold important clues about your risk of developing cancer. This includes first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) and second-degree relatives (grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, and half-siblings).
Your physician can use this information to identify certain hereditary conditions or genetic mutations in your family so that you can make an informed decision about ways to reduce your chances of developing cancer. Your family history can potentially help other family members and is information that can be passed on to future generations.
A tool from the American Surgeon General that you can use to keep track of your family health history is My Family Health Portrait.
Ban the Tan! Protect the skin you're in!
You can help to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. It's important to know that everyone can develop skin cancer regardless of their race, skin, or eye color. Here are some things you can do:
Alcohol consumption - moderation is key.
You can help lower your risk of developing alcohol-related cancer by limiting the amount you consume. Recommended amounts are up to one drink per day for women and two per day for men, with drinks defined as 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of hard liquor. Research shows that the more alcohol a person drinks, especially over time, the higher their risk of developing certain alcohol-related cancers.
Additionally, drinking alcohol while undergoing cancer-related treatment should be discussed with your oncologist.
Vaccinations that can help prevent cancer
The HPV vaccine is effective in preventing the human papillomavirus. The sexually transmitted virus has been shown to cause cervical and other genital cancers; it is also linked to a rise in head and neck cancers. Current HPV recommendations are found at:
The Hepatitis B vaccine can reduce the risk of developing liver cancer, especially for certain high-risk adults. It's important to talk with your physician to learn more about these vaccines.
Avoid risky behaviors
Hepatitis viruses, HIV, and the human papillomavirus have all been shown to increase the risk for certain cancers. However, you can reduce risk by practicing safe sex and not using contaminated needles.
Get routine medical care & recommended screenings.
One of the best things you can do is get routine medical care with your primary care physician and dentist and follow their recommendations for cancer screenings to help reduce your cancer risk or to find cancer early when the chances for successful treatment are the highest.
You know your body best. However, if you have a concerning sign or symptom, please discuss it with your primary care physician.
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