I think it’s time for a bit of a refresher; but now I’d like to speak in more specific terms.
Today I’d like to talk about how essential it is to get regular cancer screening; especially if you’re at risk. And by that I mean: Does your family have a history of the disease? Have you participated in an activity that puts you at higher risk? Are you obese? are you at an age that is typical for the onset of cancer?
Unfortunately, there are many types of cancer, so it would be difficult to discuss all of them here. I’ll pick just a couple that are easy to test for to drive home my point about testing, but see your physician right away if you have symptoms or risk factors for any other.
For women, one of the deadliest cancers is one of the easiest to detect at an early stage. And since October is national breast cancer awareness month, it’s the perfect time to bring it up. Regular breast self-examinations should begin when women reach their 20s, and by the time they reach their 30s, they should get annual mammograms.
If you have higher than average risk, ask your health care professional about additional tests, and see your doctor immediately if you notice any changes to your breast, such as a lump.
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, keep in mind that it can be beat.
Tens of thousands of women (maybe more) conquer this disease with medication, surgery, proper nutrition and plenty of determination. Radiation, chemotherapy, oncoplastic surgery and mastectomies are but a few options for women with breast cancer.
For men, there are two fatal cancers that can be tested for and caught early.
Colon cancer and prostate cancer testing might be uncomfortable – even embarrassing – but don’t let that stop you.
Break down the barriers of fear and embarrassment, and talk to your doctor about the different tests, especially if you have risk factors (heredity, age and obesity are a few).
For colon cancer, you can have a colonoscopy.
For prostate cancer, you can have a prostate-specific antigen blood test or a digital rectal exam to detect abnormalities that might point to cancer.
Again, remember that these are treatable cancers – but the key is to catch them early.
I am not a doctor, so let me be clear that these are not the only diseases that can be tested for; to decide whether you need testing for these or any other diseases, please consult your physician.
Another great source for any type of cancer information is the American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org.
Because the weight of this week’s column I had to forgo the weekly fit recipe so I can use the room to give additional cancer screening information.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, RECIPES OR INFORMATION YOU’D LIKE TO PASS ON, CONTACT ME AT BRIAN@BRIANDUEWEL.COM OR ON TWITTER @BDUEWEL. CHECK OUT MY BLOG AT HEALTHY LIVINGWITHBRIANDUEWEL.COM.