One Step Ahead of Cancer: Transitioning into Proactive Health

ctca photoFor every 100 people who get cancer, 33 cases can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes. By balancing diet and exercise, managing the proper health supplements, and participating in preventative screenings, you can improve your health and decrease your risk of getting cancer. Start today using these three simple goals for transitioning into proactive health.

Goal #1: Balance Your Meals and Supplement Your Diet

Nutrition:

  • Limit consumption of:
    • Energy-dense foods
    • Sugary drinks
    • Alcohol (one drink per day for women)
    • Red meats
    • Processed foods with high sodium content
  • Increase consumption of:
    • Fruits and vegetables (5-9 servings per day)
    • Whole grains
    • Legumes
  • When grocery shopping, shop the perimeter of the store where fresh produce can be found. Remember: the closer to the earth, the better!

Top Supplements for Women:

  • Fish Oil can reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of inflamed cells developing into cancerous cells, and aid in cancer prevention, as well as help with depression, anxiety, moods, and joint pain. Tip: Stick your fish oil in the freezer to alleviate a possible aftertaste.
  • Vitamin D can help with immune function, suppress depression, decrease the risk of heart disease and increase bone density.
  • Calcium can prevent further accelerated bone density loss and maintain bone stabilization. Tip: Calcify your diet with leafy greens, milk and dairy.
  • Probiotics aid in digestion, fight off disease-causing bacteria, and can reduce diarrhea caused by certain infections, chemotherapy or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Magnesium maintains normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, keeps bones strong, helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is suggested to prevent and manage disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
  • Vitamin B-12 & B-6 both help the body to convert food into fuel for energy. This vitamin contributes to healthy skin, hair, and eyes, and proper nervous system functioning while maintaining metabolism, muscle tone, and a sharp mind.

Ask your naturopathic practitioner or primary care physician about dosage recommendations for these supplements to aid in your preventative health plan.

Goal #2: Be Active

  • •Exercise 30 minutes every day.
  • •Tie physical activity to something you love or already have the habit of doing.
  • •Set a goal for yourself, share it with a friend and ask if they would like to join you.
  • •When watching TV:
    • Stand up at each commercial break.
    • Do simple exercises during the show such as: sit-ups, push-ups, or standing on one foot.
    • Prevent mindless snacking by only eating at the table, and if you want a snack, the TV must be off.

Goal #3: Get Preventative Screenings and Utilize Cancer Detection Tips

Breast Exams:

  • Clinical breast exams should be performed every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
  • Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40.

*If you have a significant family history of breast/ovarian cancers, ask your doctor about genetic testing

Colonoscopies:

  • Beginning at age 50 (if normal):
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
    • Colonoscopy every 10 years
    • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years, or CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years.

*If you have a significant family history of colon cancer, ask your doctor about genetic testing or earlier-age colonoscopy

Cervical Cancer Prevention:

  • Pap test every 3 years for women ages 21 to 29
  • Pap test plus an HPV test every 5 years for women ages 30 to 65.
    • Women who have been vaccinated against HPV should still follow the screening recommendations for her age group.
    • Women who have had hysterectomies still need pelvic exams every 5 years.

Melanoma Prevention:   

  • Always wear sunscreen
  • Broad Spectrum (protecting against UVA and UVB rays)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Reapply every 2 hours
    • Avoid high risk sun hours (11 a.m.–3 p.m.)
    • If you have many moles, careful, routine exams by a dermatologist and monthly skin self-exams are recommended.
    • If you find a new, unusual, or changing mole, have it checked by a doctor experienced in recognizing skin cancers.

*If you have a significant family history of melanoma, ask your doctor about genetic testing.

These simple lifestyle changes and preventative measures can help improve your health and decrease your cancer risk. Empower yourself to take preventative health action by making healthy decisions today. For more information on cancer, prevention and health, please visit cancercenter.com.

Article by: Kim Lisiak, Cancer Treatment Center of America

Cancer Treatment Centers of America Sources:
Jason Stevens, MA, RD, CSO, LD, Clinical Oncology Dietitian & Diabetes Program Coordinator
Katherine Anderson, ND, FABNO, National Director of Naturopathic Medicine
Laurence Altshuler, MD, Director of Oncology Intake Services

Other sources:
American Cancer Society (cancer.org)