Since alternative medicine seems to claim that it can prevent cancer completely and that conventional medicine does not seem to care, I thought I would share some medically-proven methods for reducing your chances of cancer mortality. Note that not all of these prevent cancer from happening, but most cases are very treatable when caught early, so it will prevent dying of cancer.
It’s not 100% of course. You are just reducing the overall probability that you will die of cancer. Eventually, something is going to kill you. Some system is going to stop functioning or something will go wrong. There’s a fairly good chance cancer will kill you, although heart disease is even more probable.
#1 Live an overall healthy lifestyle - This is a bit vague, but basically you can reduce your chances of cancer, and damn near every other ailment by doing some common-sense things like exercising regularly, maintaining an optimal weight, without a lot of extra body fat, keeping your calorie consumption in check, getting plenty of sleep and trying not to stress out too much about things. It’s not rocket science, but few of us are nearly perfect in this regard. Good health means less stress on cells, a more robust immune system and thus your chances of cancer are lower. Although the effect may not be that dramatic.
#2 Avoid known lifestyle carcinogens - People get very worked up about potential carcinogens like industrial chemicals or ionizing radiation. But in fact, there are some very common ones that can make a huge impact on cancer risk. The most obvious is tobacco use. It increases the risk of lung cancer, throat cancer, esophageal cancer and oral cancers. Another big one is exposure to sunlight or artificial tanning beds. It is best not to intentionally tan keep sun exposure to a minimum, as sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen can be helpful in this regard. Finally, excessive drinking may increase the risk of cancer of the esophagus and of liver cancer. Light drinking does not seem to be associated with an increase in risk.
Ionizing radiation, benzene, formaldehyde, PCB’s and alike are not usually worth worrying about. Of course, you should still avoid excessive exposure to such compounds, should you be in a situation where you work with them.
#3 Get all recommended regular screenings – This includes prostate exams, skin cancer screenings, colonoscopies, mammograms and similar other procedures that detect cancer or per-cancerous growths early. The recommendations have changed for some of these procedures, so check with your doctor. Just visiting the doctor for a regular checkup can be helpful in catching conditions early. Additionally, oral cancers are often first detected by dentists, so dental exams shouldn’t be skipped either.
#4 Be vigilant and do self-examinations - Between appointments, keep an eye on your skin and look for moles or blemishes that are unusual looking, are new or which have changed in size or shape. Women should do breast self-exams and men should do testicular cancer self-exams. In the event that you find something, get it checked out right away.
So, yes, conventional medicine does include preventive methods, which are scientifically proven. You don’t need a magic herbal product or an organic diet to reduce your risk of cancer. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, your risk will never be zero. But that’s life.
Posted in Bad Science