Cancer….it’s a scary word, I know. What if there was a way for you to find out if you were genetically prone to a specific type of cancer? How about if you were able to detect cancer in your body at an early stage and still had time to reverse it? Well, guess what…there is a way! Certain types of cancer are hereditary, some types of cancer are more likely for women than for men, some are more likely for men at age 50 than 30, and so on. Point being, knowing which age to start getting annual check ups, finding out your familial medical history, and learning about ways to help lower the chances of developing a specific cancer you may or may not be genetically prone to can help save your life.
Cancer arises in the body due to mutations in our genes. These mutations may be spontaneous or may be inherited from a family member. When a gene is mutated, it can lead to abnormal cell growth, which can then cause a malignant tumor to form. This malignant tumor can then spread to other parts of your body, which is what is called metastasis. However, there are many tests that have been developed in order to prevent this from happening through early detection. It is recommended that women at the age of 40 should start getting annual mammograms since the chances of developing breast cancer increase around that age. If you are someone that has a mother, or even a grandmother who has had breast cancer, your annual check ups should start at an earlier age since breast cancer is hereditary. A colonoscopy every 10 years is recommended for people over the age of 50 in order to test for colon cancer, which can also be hereditary. Again, if you have a family member who has had colon cancer, your screenings need to begin at an earlier age and need to be more frequent. A simple blood test to measure the level of your thyroid hormones can detect early signs of thyroid cancer. Biopsies of abnormal moles on your skin can help prevent the growth of skin cancer. A biopsy of any abnormal bump on your body can be enough to detect most types of cancer for that matter. If you do not know what your past familial medical history is, there is something called genomic testing which can detect specific mutations in your genes that have been linked to certain cancers. If we have the resources available to find out what the future holds for us in terms of our health, why not take advantage of it?
Although each type of cancer comes with its own set of symptoms, there are some general symptoms that may also be indicative of cancer as a whole. Keep in mind though, some types of cancer do not present any symptoms at all. Some general symptoms, and I do emphasize the word general, include: persistent fatigue, unintentional weight loss (around 10lbs or more), chronic pain, regular fevers, and frequent night sweats. Do not become alarmed if you have these symptoms because, again, they are very general. However, if you do have 2 or more of these symptoms, it wouldn’t hurt to go get a check up just to make sure everything is alright.
Even though cancer does not discriminate and can potentially affect any of us, prevention can at least help lower the chances of its occurrence. For example, wearing sunscreen and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, or even artificial tanning lamps, can help lower the chances of skin cancer. Abstaining from smoking can help lower the chances of mouth, lung and colon cancer. Avoiding excessive caffeine consumption can help lower the chances of thyroid and breast cancer. Exercising regularly can help build your immune system to help fight off all cancers. Eating healthy, nutritious food full of fiber and vitamins can help keep your body strong and prevent cancer as well. I know it is impossible to avoid all carcinogenic agents in this world, but removing the bulk of them from your life can make a tremendous difference.
Many of you may be young and do not think this post really pertains to you, and that you should worry about these things when you are older. However, even though it is more likely to develop cancer when you are older, cancer can happen at any age, unfortunately. Also, you could use this information for your loved ones. Urge your parents to get screened if it is time for them to do so. Make them aware of how important it is to detect cancer in its early stages because it will increase their chances of eliminating it quickly and without much complication. Unfortunately, ignorance is not always bliss. I hope these tips help! Thanks for reading. This has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas.