It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Here Are 3 Ways to Help Prevent Cancer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The news highlights one victim, Michelle Waddey, who got breast cancer from a deliberate explosion.
Breast cancer affects about 12 percent of American women. It's not just genetics that cause breast cancer. Sometimes your environment and things you put in your body can increase your risk for cancer. For Michelle Waddey, it was deliberately caused by someone.
In 2012, a couple wanted to make millions defrauding their home insurance company. They set an explosion with their natural gas. The devastating blast killed two people and injured many others. Michelle Waddey lived three houses down but the explosion crippled her home and officials boarded up her house, legally condemning it unsafe for habitation.
The stress of losing her home in the explosion, coupled with having to deal with insurance companies, contractors, and living in various motels and people's homes, caused her cancer to develop. She went through turbulent times, unable to live in one place as she battled her breast cancer.
But she won and is now a stronger person. She's living back in her own home and cancer-free for three years now. She thanks her network of support, which researchers found improves cancer patients' chances of remission and quality of life.
Sometimes cancer can be unavoidable given things out of your control. But you can help avoid cancer by lowering the risk factors you know about. Here are a few:
Lower your stress. Stress can destroy your genes, which increases your risk for cancer. Lower your stress by meditating or practicing yoga everyday. For long-term stress reduction, try to totally eliminate things in your life that are causing you stress.
Eat your vegetables and fruits everyday. Unlike meat or processed foods, vegetables, nuts and fruits are high in antioxidants. These antioxidants neutralize free radicals that can damage your genes and increase your risk for cancer.
Don't use sun tan beds. The bronze look is a popular goal among most. When it's not summer, people visit sun tan beds to tan their skin. Researchers found that regular use of sun tan beds puts you at greater risk of developing melanomas, which can be as fatal as most cancers. If you want safer ways to tan your skin, one tanning guide suggests you use melanotan II (MT2), which is a synthetic compound that mimics a natural compound your body makes that causes tanning of the skin. The FDA has yet to approve it, but it's been found to make your skin darker without exposure to cancer-causing UV radiation. If you try MT2, it's even more important that you stay away from sun tan beds. Researchers have made an observation that using a sun tan bed while using MT2 increases your risk of skin cancer more than the risk that sun tan beds already impose.
The healthiest and safest way to tan your skin is by eating foods rich in carotenoids. Dermatologist Dr. Susan Stuart suggests you eat carrots, tomatoes, apricots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, olive oil, spinach and kale. These are all rich in beta-carotene, which darkens your skin. Dr. Stuart says the effects won't be immediate – like most natural methods, you'll see results in months not weeks. Plus, these foods are rich in antioxidants, so they protect you from cancer too!
This October, raise your cancer awareness and improve your cancer-avoiding and cancer-fighting efforts. Spread the word to your friends and family that they can help prevent developing this devastating disease by eating fruits, vegetables, and nuts; avoiding sun tan beds; and meditating or doing yoga everyday.