The American Cancer Society defines a cancer survivor as anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer from the date of diagnosis through remission.
A cancer diagnosis represents the beginning of an incredibly challenging journey, but increased awareness, early detection and improved technologies have empowered a growing number of thriving survivors.
Here are some steps you can take to limit your exposure to cancer risks:
1. Early detection is key. Preventive screenings can detect cancers that afflict the breast, cervix, colon and skin at their earliest stages when they are most treatable. Check with your physician to find a screening schedule that’s right for you.
2. Get moving. Increasing your level of physical activity helps you shed those extra pounds that can heighten your risks for cancer and other chronic diseases. Aim for at least an hour a day, but even shorter periods of time can reap rewards.
3. Embrace healthy eating. Try to include fruits and vegetables with every meal, and keep them handy during the day for snacks. Whole grains are good for you as well, and have been shown to lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
4. Limit your exposure to the sun. Sunburns can increase the risk of cancers in children and adults. That’s why you should wear a sunscreen of at least a 30 SPF before heading outside. Hats, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are also recommended when spending time out in the sun.
5. Just say no to tobacco. Most adult smokers started the habit when they were kids. It’s never too early to preach the risks of tobacco use with your child.
6. Alcohol use. Excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to increase risks of developing certain cancers. It is recommended that patients limit their intake of alcohol to suppress these risks.
Additional sources: American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Cancer Society