It’s National Cancer Prevention Month
What Can You Do To Lower Your Risk of Cancer?
While there are certainly genetic influences when it comes to cancer, your behavior can also have a significant effect on whether you’re stricken with this dreaded disease. Since February is National Cancer Prevention Month, it’s the perfect time to learn more about cancer triggers and what you can do to lower your risk.
Let’s start with some good news. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the death rate from cancer in the U.S. has declined steadily over the past 25 years. As of 2016, the cancer death rate for men and women combined had fallen 27 percent from its peak in 1991 — translating to about 1.5 percent per year and more than 2.6 million deaths avoided between 1991 and 2016.
The medical community continues to research ways to treat cancer, and while there is no cure, a variety of treatment options give people better chances than ever to survive. As is commonly known, early detection is key; untreated, cancer cells can spread throughout the body, making treatment more problematic.
One of the newest cancer treatments is immunotherapy, which uses the immune system to attack cancer cells. Another is interventional radiology, which involves minimally invasive techniques using needles and catheters, and provides an alternative to surgery for some patients. Other treatment options include:
- Blood and marrow stem cell transplantation
- Radiation therapy
Cancer is a very common diagnosis, as reflected in the following statistics from the ACS’s Cancer Facts and Figures 2019 report:
- An estimated 1,762,450 cancers were diagnosed in 2019, equaling more than 4,800 new cases a day.
- The lifetime possibility of being diagnosed with cancer is 39.3 percent for men and 37.7 percent — a little more than one in three.
- Almost one in four deaths (22 percent) in the U.S. in 2016 were from cancer, making it the second leading cause of death — after heart disease — in men and women.
- Rates of new liver cancers are rising faster than for any other cancer — and rates of new cases also rose for melanoma skin cancer, thyroid cancer, endometrial cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
What Causes Cancer?
Cancer is caused by accumulated damage to genes, changes that may be due to chance or to exposure to a cancer-causing substance, i.e., carcinogen. Cancer risk factors generally fall into the following groups:
- Biological or internal factors, such as age, gender, inherited genetic defects and skin type
- Environmental exposure, for instance to radon and UV radiation, and fine particulate matter
- Occupational risk factors, including carcinogens such as many chemicals, radioactive materials and asbestos
- Lifestyle-related factors
While you obviously can’t do anything about that first bullet, the other three are within your control, especially the last one.
According to the Mayo Clinic, heeding the following seven cancer-prevention tips can go a long way toward ensuring you remain cancer-free:
- Don't use tobacco. Using any type of tobacco increases your cancer risk; smoking has been linked to cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix and kidney, while chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas. Avoid secondhand smoke as well.
- Eat a healthy diet. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, avoid obesity, drink alcohol in moderation, and limit how often you eat processed meats.
- Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, that’s even better. Physical activity can help control your weight, and may lower your risk of breast and colon cancer.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Avoid midday sun, stay in the shade, cover exposed areas, liberally use sunscreen, and avoid tanning beds and sunlamps — which are just as damaging as natural sunlight.
- Get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor about vaccination against Hepatitis B and human papillomavirus (HPV), two conditions that can increase your risk for developing certain cancers.
- Avoid risky behaviors. Some behaviors, such as failing to practice safe sex and sharing needles, can lead to infections that might increase your cancer risk.
- Get regular medical care. Regular self-exams and screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, cervix, and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.
How GYMGUYZ® Can Help
Since 2008, GYMGUYZ has been providing in-home training for people who are committed to fitness, starting on the East Coast. The first San Diego franchise has been operating since 2018, and there are many reasons to check it out, including the three Cs:
- Convenience — What’s more convenient than personal trainers who come to your home? You’ll save time and benefit from privacy and personalized attention. Having an San Diego personal trainer is perfect for busy professionals, children, people with disabilities and seniors — as well as anyone who’s gym averse.
- Customization — Your fitness program will be created to focus on your specific goals, so it will be unique. Before your first session, we’ll conduct an in-depth assessment so we can customize your workouts and match you with the best certified trainer for your level and personality.
- Creativity — We accomplish our goal of ensuring you’re never bored by showing you creative ways to get in shape and stay motivated. No two routines are ever the same, to eliminate the monotony of doing the same thing over and over again.
Most importantly, GYMGUYZ delivers results, because your fitness program is created to fit your abilities and help you reach your goals. Your find a trainer will keep you motivated and accountable — plus we keep records of your workouts and progress so we can reassess your fitness level every 15 weeks.
Are you really serious about working to prevent cancer by maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active? GYMGUYZ can design an exercise program that keeps you motivated to help you reach your weight and fitness goals. Ready to go? Call us at 619-832-1656 to get started.