Good health in cancer prevention

By Michael Forrest, MD:

The World Health Organization estimates that eight million of the 84 million expected global cancer deaths in the next decade will be due to avoidable causes. The organization has designed a cancer prevention control plan that will seek to reduce chronic disease death rates by two percent a year up to 2015, and will target the main causes of cancer in low to middle-income countries, where more than 70 percent of cancer deaths occur.

The plan includes programs for prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment. In observance, here are a few cancer prevention tips that can also help avoid other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.

Among the most important modifiable risk factors for cancer are:

  • Eliminate tobacco use
  • Limit alcohol use to one/day for women and two/day for men
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake to 8-10 servings/day
  • Exercise 3-6 hours/week by walking at least 3 miles per hour, or equivalent in other sport
  • Reduce to, or maintain, optimal body weight
  • Limit sun exposure and medical X-rays as much as possible
  • Avoid asbestos
  • Practice safe sex always to prevent HPV, HIV, and hepatitis viral infections

In addition, the World Health Organization estimates that one third of cancers worldwide are potentially preventable through screening (e.g. mammograms, Pap smears, colonoscopy) and vaccines. Supporting efforts to ensure every citizen has equal access to cancer screenings and vaccines and that anyone diagnosed with cancer has access to the latest treatment advances are key to fighting cancer.

It is important to keep in mind that a diagnosis of cancer does not necessarily mean a death sentence for any patient in 2013. Today’s advances in treatments allow many diagnosed with cancer to receive effective treatments and to be cured or better manage the disease.

Cancer touches just about everyone’s life at some point. It is important to encourage ourselves, family members, and friends in the fight against cancer. Cancer Prevention observances can be a great reminder of important lifestyle changes we can all make for a healthier future.

Dr. Michael Forrest is a board certified Radiation Oncologist with Epic Care – Partners In Cancer Care, a group of experts in the diagnosis and comprehensive treatment of cancer and blood disorders. (925) 875-1677