About a third of all Americans develop cancer at some point. At CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center, our team of physical medicine and pain management specialists understand the aggressive nature of cancer, and we help patients throughout Maryland cope with the pain that often accompanies it.
And while we know that there’s no cure and no guaranteed prevention, there are several things you can do to keep yourself out of the high risk groups and increase your chances of survival if you do get it.
Reducing your risk of getting cancer
Cancer can affect anyone, but if you take the following suggestions, you can lower your risk of developing the disease:
Start with nutrition
Eating more plants and less red and processed meat can help you avoid some health issues that may lead to cancer, especially colon and prostate cancer. Beans, whole grains, and, of course, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are important for your digestive and immune systems, and eating them can lower your risk of getting cancer.
Smoking — or living and working with smokers — has a direct link to lung cancer, but it’s not the only way tobacco can harm you. Even chewing tobacco comes with the risk of mouth cancer. So avoid it in all of its forms.
Watch your weight
Obesity can increase your risk for many types of cancer, including breast, colon, pancreatic, endometrial, liver, esophageal, and kidney cancer. On the other hand, exercise can lower your risk of getting cancer and help you lose weight, so it serves you on two fronts.
Reduce radiation exposure
Every time you get a dental X-ray or a mammogram, you’re exposed to radiation, which can lead to cancer. So make sure the test is absolutely necessary before consenting.
Radon is another source of radiation that most people don’t think about. It’s a radioactive gas that’s released naturally from the earth. You can’t see, smell, or taste it, but if you breathe in too much of it, it can cause lung cancer. You can have your home tested to find out if radon is present and whether you need to take steps to mitigate it.
Sun exposure is another form of radiation, or more specifically, the ultraviolet rays from the sun. To protect yourself and decrease your risk of melanoma, always wear sunscreen, a hat, and protective clothing.
Certain viruses, such as human papillomavirus and hepatitis, are known to cause cancer. But you can protect yourself by getting vaccinated.
Stay away from toxins
Some cancers can be caused by things in the environment you may come into contact with, especially if you’re exposed to them continually. In many cases, you can avoid getting sick simply by avoiding the toxin. Some examples of things you should try to stay away from include the following:
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (some plastics, carbonless copy paper, and floor finishes)
- Benzine (petroleum)
- Aromatic amines (tobacco smoke, diesel exhaust, some commercial hair dyes)
If you have cancer
The lifestyle steps we’ve listed above may help you avoid getting some cancers, but if you end up with a cancer diagnosis, keep this list handy, because these are the very things you need to do to stay as strong and healthy as possible to fight the disease and overcome it.
If chemotherapy or surgery are part of your treatment, you may experience some pain during the process, and that’s where we come in. Through a highly personal and customized approach, we’ll come alongside you and help you manage your cancer-related pain.
This might include biofeedback therapy, relaxation techniques, steroid injections, or medications. We’ll tailor your pain treatment to your unique needs and condition to reduce your discomfort so you can concentrate on healing.
For more information on lowering your risk of getting cancer or dealing with the pain that often accompanies it, book an appointment online or over the phone with CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center today.