Find out what a predisposition to cancer is and what you can do if you are really in danger. Here are seven simple rules to minimize risks and preserve health.
Every person whose parents had cancer wonders if he himself is at an increased risk of developing this disease. It is worth considering that not every cancer has a direct genetic component. The American Cancer Society claims that inherited genetic mutations play a role in only 5-10 percent of cancer cases.
Nevertheless, if you have an increased genetic predisposition to cancer, it is worth knowing about it and taking timely measures, since testing can protect you from the worst scenarios. And even if you don’t suspect a hereditary cancer risk in your ancestry, remember that many of us inherited elements of an unhealthy lifestyle from our parents, some of which were clearly associated with a higher risk of cancer. To remove them from your life and replace them with healthy habits will be an easy and extremely justified victory.
Here are the rules for maintaining health that you need to follow if your parents had cancer or the lifestyle in your family could not be called exemplary.
Check for genetic mutations
If one of your parents or grandparents had breast, ovarian or prostate cancer, you can be tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. People with these mutations have a higher risk of developing these cancers. If your parents or several members of your family developed colon cancer before the age of 50, you can get tested for Lynch syndrome, hereditary colon cancer factor and higher rates of some other cancers. If you have a positive result, your doctor may recommend an additional examination under supervision.
Do not skip routine examinations (and sign up for screening)
Experts recommend that everyone undergo a routine cancer screening. To do mammography and screening for cervical cancer for women, as well as colonoscopy for both women and men. The age to start screening for colon cancer has recently been lowered from 50 to 45 years, as the disease is becoming more common among young people. Follow the routine examinations recommended by your doctor and tell the specialist if you have a family history of cancer cases. In this case, your doctor may recommend starting routine examinations earlier.
Monitor the quality of sleep
“Lack of sleep can indirectly increase the risk of developing cancer,” the National Sleep Foundation says. – Lack of sleep is closely related to obesity, which is an established risk factor for many types of cancer. Lack of sleep is linked to immune system problems, such as persistent inflammation, which is thought to increase the risk of cancer.” Experts recommend that adults at any age sleep from seven to nine hours every night and monitor the quality of sleep.
Maintain a healthy weight
Studies show that excess body fat increases the risk of developing as many as 13 types of cancer. Compared to people with a healthy weight, men with severe obesity have a 52% higher risk of dying from cancer, and women have a 62% higher risk. Maintaining weight within the normal range is a good way to reduce the risk of developing cancer, regardless of genetic predisposition.
Give up smoking
You probably know that smoking is a huge risk in terms of cancer risk. And even today, it is still the #1 preventable cause of death in America. By giving up this habit, you will be able to protect yourself from many difficulties, primarily by reducing the risk of developing cancer.
Drink moderately (or don’t drink at all)
According to the American Cancer Society, alcohol consumption is also a significant danger. Alcohol addiction increases the risk of developing at least seven types of cancer, including cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, colon and breast. If you drink, then drink only moderately — no more than two servings a day for men and one for women.
According to the National Cancer Institute, regular exercise reduces the risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast, colon, esophageal, bladder, kidney and stomach cancers. A review of studies conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine has shown that risk reduction can reach 69 percent. Frequent physical activity strengthens the immune system, while it is not necessary to arrange highly effective workouts. Experts recommend spending at least 150 minutes on moderate-intensity exercises per week.