As I write this, my uncle is dying of cancer. It all happened so quickly. It seemed like one day he was fine and the next, well, you know the rest. When I saw that Sharecare had partnered with Cancer Treatment Centers of America, I immediately thought of my uncle and started perusing their content. Here’s what I learned:
1. Obese people are more likely to get cancer.
This really bothered me because I’m thicker in the middle than I’d like to be. Simeon Jaggernauth, MD, of Cancer Treatment Centers of America advises obese people to “reduce your body fat (body mass index) and exercise plenty, as we know that obesity is a risk factor for the development of several cancer types.” Consider me sold on the importance of diet and exercise.
2. Eating a diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of prostate cancer.
You don’t have to be obese to have a diet high in saturated fats, but both obesity and saturated fats are significant risk factors for prostate cancer, which is just one more reason I’m going to try to live a healthier lifestyle.
3. The early warning symptoms of cancer aren’t always obvious.
Persistent indigestion. Chronic hoarseness. Abnormal bowel movements. These may sound like symptoms of a common illness, but they’re actually cancer warning signs. And when it comes to cancer, the earlier you catch it, the better, as your chances of effective treatment are much greater. Therefore, make sure you’re educated on what to look for and get regular cancer screenings. They may just save your life.
4. Cancer treatments can actually cause cancer.
The scariest bit of cancer-related news I read from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America is that cancer treatments can cause a second cancer. Dr. Jaggernauth explains that the cancer medications have a “shotgun effect,” damaging both cancerous and healthy cells, and sometimes the healthy cells mutate into cancerous ones. The risk is low, and usually the benefits of treatment far outweigh it, but, still, it’s something we should all be aware of.
5. You need to take care of yourself if you’re caring for someone with cancer.
My heart goes out to my aunt. My uncle has the disease, but it seems to have affected her almost as dramatically. She barely has time to eat, sleep or even think. Shauna M. Birdsall, MD, of Cancer Treatment Centers of America stresses the importance of caregivers taking the time to care for themselves. If you’re a caregiver, Dr. Birdsall says you need, among other things, eight hours of sleep each night, a healthy diet and time each day for yourself. Perhaps most important, you need to keep up with your own health and shouldn’t forgo your own cancer screenings.
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File under: In the News