Every month, there are efforts to raise awareness for one type of cancer or another. Some efforts are more well-known than others – football teams decked out in pink – while others are less well-known. These efforts raise money for research and the hope of finding a cure for an awful disease. But this month, we are not raising awareness for a specific cancer, but rather for the prevention of cancer.
Cancer awareness and cancer prevention may seem like the same idea initially, however, awareness focuses on raising awareness of the cancer to solicit donations for research, while cancer prevention seeks to educate people about how to prevent getting cancer. According to the American Institute of Cancer research, approximately 1/3 of those diagnosed with the most common cancers found in the United States could be prevented.
To reduce the risk of cancer, a healthy diet and regular physical activity is important, as an unhealthy body weight has been shown to increase the risk of cancer. A healthy diet includes avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol, limiting salt intake and processed foods, and limiting the consumption of red meats and processed meats. Eating a large variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is encouraged. These recommendations correspond with many of the dietary regulations given to the Israelites, through Moses, by the Lord, as they wandered in the desert and prepared to enter the Promised Land.
It is also important to know the types, if any, of cancer that run in your family. Sometimes, there are additional, specialized preventative measures that can be taken. Consulting with a family doctor is important! If you have children, it is important they are aware of the family history of not only cancer, but other health problems. This is especially important if the children are soon going to be off on their own, or if they already are.
Take some time this month to evaluate your lifestyle. Are you doing all you can to remain healthy? Do your children know their history? Its never too early, or too late, to start improving your health!