How much cancer are you hearing about these days? As a nurse that works at the bedside, I’m hearing and seeing more than I care to. Breast cancer has been the top cancer for some time. Right behind are lung cancer and prostate cancer. There are more cancers, but I want to focus on why is it more visible? My first thought when contemplating this matter is where we have ignored and relaxed our defenses against something as life changing as cancer. Cancer affects your total life routine. The way you eat, sleep, and how your body feels. It also affects those around you. Prevention may not cure every cancer, but it is my approach to maintaining good health. The fight against cancer begins with knowledge.
For those who work in the medical field or are health enthusiast, the way cancer works is not new to you. But for those who are curious, I provide a brief summary.
Cancer starts at the cellular level. Normally our cells go through the process of growth, division, and death. Cancer cells are cells that grow out of control. They don’t follow the same rules as normal cells. When they form new cells, those cells are cancer cells too. They don’t die like normal cells. They spread, and invade other parts of the body. Because cancer cells are out of control, there is no rhyme or reason for the trouble they cause. They are simply on a course to destroy normal function and healthy tissues. If left untreated, death is the only outcome.
Prevention is key to putting up a good fight against cancer. Since cancer starts on the inside, what we put into our bodies is a good place to start our prevention intervention.
Being intentional about what foods you eat is a must when seeking to prevent cancer. This means eating foods for what they offer instead of how they taste. The goal is to feed yourself something daily that is packed with nutrition and cancer fighting elements. If your diet consist of mostly processed meats and foods, include more fruits and veggies. It will definitely be a change in the right direction. You can’t go without including some super foods on your grocery list. Wheat grass and spinach are two of my favorites.
Chlorophyll is one of the main cancer fighting properties in wheat grass. I know some are hung up on the taste (it tastes like freshly mowed grass), but the power it packs is not only cancer fighting. It’s been known to treat other ailments as well. Spinach has always been an all-time favorite in my house. I started my kids young telling them they must eat something good for them. They may not eat Brussel sprouts, but I never get a fight on spinach. When you put good things in your body you are creating a healthy environment which helps your body function at its best.
Certain things in your environmental can put you at risk for certain types of cancer. A few of the most common risk factors are smoking (including second hand smoke), radiation exposure, workplace toxins like asbestos, and ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds. To start, take control over what you allow in your environment. Most public places have already eliminated smoking on their properties. Some people have made it a rule not to allow smoking in their home. You can further protect yourself from second hand smoke by saying no thank you when asked to join others while they take a smoke break.
Certain jobs like the hospital radiology department require its employees to work with radiation. Time is always a factor when dealing with radiation. You also want to wear the proper equipment that offers protection to your body, like lead vests. Exposure to asbestos used to be a big thing years ago. It still pays to know what asbestos is and where it appears in the work place if at all. Research has made the public and workplace employers more aware of its risk to cause cancer.
For those who love to use tanning beds as an alternative to natural sunlight, you might want to reconsider. WebMD lists tanning beds as a definite cause of skin cancer. I know some use it religiously, but is it really worth having the appearance healthy glowing tanned skin now to pay the price of cancer treatment later?
We all have a routine that we adopt as our lifestyle. It includes how we care for our bodies, how we handle stress and how much rest we get. We’ve discussed diet already, so let’s discuss exercise. Exercise is very important in prevention of cancer. Physical activity not only keeps the body in shape, it also helps the body burn excess fat. Having excess fat means more production of insulin and estrogen. Remember, cancer cells like to spread into other tissues and grow. Excess fat provides the perfect environment for growth.
Research has linked stress and poor cancer prognoses. When you are stressed, your body is affected. Your immune system suffers, and is less likely to defend against anomalies. Stress may not be a cause of cancer, but stress definitely limits your body’s natural healing and puts you at risk for illness. A lack of rest may not cause cancer, but rest also allows the body time to replenish and heal.
Cancer may be more common than it used to be, but I hope you adopt a preventive plan that keeps your body healthy and performing at its best. I realize that we can’t do much about what we inherit from our parents. But today, you can increase your knowledge and decrease your risk factors that lead to illness.
[Taunya is nurse, author, and a three-year homeschool veteran. She is currently working on two books, the 3rd in the Brady Boe series, and Truth–the first in the End Time Saga Trilogy. #ReadTSW at taunyasBnB.com]