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How to Prevent Cancer

Is is possible to prevent cancer?  While it may not be 100%, according to the American Cancer Society, regular screenings, preventative medicine and a healthy lifestyle can dramatically increase your chances to live a cancer-free life.  To celebrate National Cancer Prevention Month, GiveForward is taking a look at some suggestions to help you fight cancer.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates 173,200 cancer deaths will be caused by tobacco use in 2012. These along with cancers caused by excessive alcohol use can be prevented completely. An active lifestyle combined with good nutrition can give you major edge in preventing many diseases including cancer.   By using sunblock and other protection when exposed to the sun, and avoiding indoor tanning, over 2 million skin cancers could be prevented on a yearly basis.

Some cancers are related to infectious agents such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), human papillomavirus (HPV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and others. Behavioral changes, vaccines and antibiotics can reduce your risk of contracting these. Annual screenings by a health care professional for cancer helps  enable early detection so that doctors may begin treatment, drastically increasing your chance of recovery.  Cancers that can be prevented or detected earlier by screening such as cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, cervix, prostate, oral cavity, and skin account for at least half of all new cancer cases.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women aged 50 to 74 get a mammogram every two years to screen for breast cancer. Women aged 21 to 65, or those who have been sexually active for three years, should have a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer at least every three years. For colorectal cancer, men and women aged 50 to 75 should be screened with a yearly fecal occult blood test or sigmoidoscopy every five years, or have a colonoscopy every 10 years.  Schedule your annual screenings today.

The same methods used to avoid cancer and detect it early stages can help cancer survivors prevent recurrence. Chris Hartford, a healthy young mom of four, was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.  She had a tough road to recovery but is now happy to report that she “barley has cancer.”

Her doctors have suggested a number of lifestyle changes to help prevent recurrent cancer or contracting a different type of cancer later in life including: avoiding sugar & caffeine, limiting alcohol intake, exercising for 30 minutes a day, and increasing time spent sleeping. She will also be sure to have one MRI and two mammograms yearly, regular blood work, and high doses of vitamin D.

“So, here we are, breathing great sighs of relief and renewed enthusiasm to kick ass in my forties so I can live to be 100, dancing and singing all along,”  Chris says on the GiveForward fundraising page her friend started in order to raise money to help with the financial hardships Chris and her family face due to her cancer.

If you have a friend or relative who was recently diagnosed with cancer or is trying to cope with other out-of-pocket medical expenses,  you can start a GiveForward to offer them financial and emotional support.

Whose world will you change?