Did you know that in 2018 there were over 17 million new cancer cases? Or that the number is expected to rise to 27.5 million by 2040 (source)? Do you want to know what’s really sad? Many of these cases could probably have been prevented. Cancer prevention is an important part of a long, healthy life, but so few people know anything at all about it.
Why Cancer Prevention Matters
You no doubt know all about cancer awareness programs. These huge programs spend billions of dollars to make sure you do, but they have a serious flaw in them: they frequently forget to do anything about the prevention side. More than 40% of all cancers and fully half of all related deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to preventable causes. For example, everybody knows about the link between smoking and lung cancer thanks to the hard work of medical science and the efforts of the surgeon general. Despite this, lung cancer continues to be the most common form in the U.S. even as the number of smokers declines. Why? Because lung cancer has so many more causes that just smoking.
More important than awareness, we need to teach cancer prevention. Just knowing cancer exists doesn’t help anyone if we don’t also teach them all that we know about how to prevent it.
How Do I Prevent Cancer
Actually calling it cancer prevention is a bit off. It’s impossible to completely prevent cancer, as we don’t know all of the causes. However, there are many ways that we can significantly reduce the risk of getting cancer. Everybody knows to avoid smoking these days, but what other ways can we do it?
1. Eat Healthy
A healthy diet plays an important role. Studies have shown that a steady diet based in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables is a major component of cancer prevention. Processed foods, especially processed meats, often contain carcinogens, so these should be avoided. Alcohol should also be limited; drinking too much alcohol not only puts stress on your liver, but is a contributing factor to breast, lung, colon, kidney and liver cancer.
2. Keep Active
Obesity is a contributing factor in multiple forms of cancer, including breast, lung, prostate, colon and kidney cancers. Keeping your weight at a healthy level is important for prevention. Eating healthy will help a lot with that, but don’t neglect being physical active either.
Exercise not only helps you control your weight, it has additional benefits that decrease your risk of cancer. Adults who get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week show significant decrease in the risk of getting cancer. Try and aim for at least 30 minutes a day if you can.
3. Protect Yourself From the Sun
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer you can get, and its primary cause is ultraviolet radiation from the very sun we need to survive. While you do need sunlight for good health, there are things you can do to protect yourself form the harmful effects it has. For example, avoid being out in the sun between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, the peak output hours of the suns rays.
When you do go outdoors, spend as much time in the shade as you can. This will deflect a lot of the UV light, while still letting you get some fresh air. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, you should go for SPF 30 or higher to protect yourself. Cover exposed area with tightly-woven, loose-fitting clothes. Opt for bright or dark colors, as they reflect the most UV radiation. And most importantly, avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. A nice tan might be in vogue, but tanning beds put off just as much UV radiation as the sun, but are much closer to you.
Certain diseases increase the risk of cancer. Specifically, hepatitis B and HPV can significantly increase your risk. Nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, for example. Fortunately, both of these diseases have vaccines available. Check with your doctor to find out where you can get vaccinated.
5. Get Regular Medical Check-Ups
As I said earlier, you can’t guarantee prevention of any cancer with 100% certainty. That’s why regular screenings are important. Regular screenings will help you catch anything in the early stages, when treatments are most likely to be successful.
We Can Help
While most cancer prevention relies on you taking responsibility for your lifestyle choices, there are things we can do to help you. Our supplemental insurance policies help cover the cost of regular cancer screenings that standard insurance policies might skimp on. Our cancer supplemental policy has many benefits payable for diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgery and all other costs related to treatment. And since our supplemental policies pay out directly to you, you can spend the money however you need it. No fussing around with insurance agents and doctors, you decide how to best spend the money. Whether it’s covering unforeseen medical bills your regular policy overlooked, or paying bills that build up due to lost work time, the choice is yours.
We provide insurance to individuals, but don’t forget that we can also provide policies for businesses as well. Often, our business policies can add layers of additional coverage to your basic policies at minimal additional cost. These benefits will increase employee loyalty because of just how secure they’ll feel about their health coverage.
Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you. But remember, when it comes to preventing cancer, it’s up to you to take your life into your own hands.