Despite it’s reputation, cancer is not the leading cause of death in America. We should be more afraid of getting heart disease than cancer, but most of us fear cancer more because we don’t understand how we get it in the first place.

What is Cancer?

Cancer represents a problem/mutation within our cells. Each of the cells in our body have a set time to grow, remain stable, and die. In a perfectly functioning body, each cell performs its job without mistakes. An interruption may cause cells to start reproducing when they are not supposed to. Possible causes of mutations include, but not limited to: chemical exposures, radiation, sunlight exposure, and smoking. Our bodies have natural defenses against such rogue cells. When a cell starts to behave irregularly, it is typically destroyed. With cancerous cells, the body is unable to contain the growth of the mutation, and as a result, cancer develops.
Cancer can affect any part of the body. The most common types include: Breast, prostate, skin, colon, lung, leukemia, and lymphoma.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms vary widely based on the type of cancer, but some patients may experience abnormal lumps/bumps, unexplained fevers, night sweats, or unintentional weight loss.

Let’s Talk Prevention:

We all want to feel like we have control over our bodies and we do. Use these suggestions as guidelines for healthier living and cancer prevention.

1. Be physically active – exercise at least 30 minutes a day
2. Avoid sugary foods and drinks.
3. Avoid processed foods.
4. Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
5. Limit red meats and processed meats.
6. Limit alcohol consumption.
7. Weight management – strive for a lean body without being underweight.
8. No smoking or chewing tobacco.
9. Limit salty foods and foods processed with salt.
10. Reduce stress to avoid a weakened immune system.

For more information, please visit aicr.org

*Image by National Cancer Institute
visualsonline.cancer.gov