Cancer is on the rise. That’s scary news, but the good news is that people are catching it earlier and doctors are treating it better, so more people are surviving a diagnosis than ever before. Here, we’re going to look at how staying aware can help you not only get an earlier diagnosis and improve your chances but can also reduce your risks of getting the diagnosis in the first place.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
It seems like easy advice, but one of the reasons that rates of cancer are on the rise is because of changes in lifestyle habits. From how we treat our body to what we put in it and what we surround it with. There are several steps to reduce your risk of cancer worth taking. Obesity is a risk factor in many types of cancer, including breast, colon, kidney, and pancreatic cancer, so maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet are all key. Alcohol, cigarettes, and exposure to the sun are as highly risky as they have always been, so avoiding them (or at least exercising some moderation) is crucial, too.
Keep an eye out
One of the biggest concerns of all cancer awareness campaigns is encouraging people to practice self-screening more often. Men and women alike are at risk of breast cancer, for instance, so you should check yourself for new lumps regularly. Similarly, men should check themselves for testicular cancer after a warm shower, feeling for any changes when the body is relaxed. If you have new lumps anywhere, not just in these key areas, you should see the doctor. Subcutaneous tumors (lumps under the skin) are not always cancerous or dangerous. They may very well be harmless lipomas. But it’s worth having the risk addressed rather than making any assumptions. If you catch it sooner, your chances of battling it successfully rise drastically.
Don’t neglect the checks
Other forms of cancer may require an expert to properly screen you. For men, the prostate exam is often considered an embarrassing health issue, but it gets much more common as we get older and it is essential. Having a family history of colon cancer or being at a higher risk because of genetic disorders or other health factors may require you to get screened at a younger age. If you have a history of smoking, an annual low-dose CT scan is highly recommended too. This includes not only if you’re smoking currently, but you have quit within the last 15 years or you have ever smoked more than one pack a day for 30 years or two-packs a day for 15 years.
Though there are still highly dangerous and aggressive cancer diagnoses that we should always be aware of, it is no longer as much of a death sentence as it once was. Stay aware, maintain healthy habits, and don’t neglect to get yourself checked out. These three steps will drastically help you fight cancer, whatever form it may or may not take in your life.
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