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News
 

ArrowAre hair dyes linked with cancer?

Dietary patterns can lower ovarian cancer risk significantly

Obesity linked to increased risk for six cancers

The American Cancer Society recommends MRI screening for women with lifetime breast cancer risk of 20%

 

Eight Steps to Avoiding Cancer and improving the quality of your life. More than half a million Americans will lose their battle with cancer this year, yet nearly two-thirds of these deaths could have been prevented through the following changes in lifestyle:

  • Quit smoking, if you smoke: Smoking is responsible for about 87% of lung cancer deaths. Quitting smoking -- or never starting in the first place -- is the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of lung cancer.(1)

  • Stay as close as possible to your ideal body weight According to a recent report, excess body fat is on course to overtake tobacco as the leading risk factor for cancer in America.(2)
    • What is your BMI? (BMI is a calculated estimate of excess body fat. It is a calculation of height to weight, and the normal range is usually considered to be 18 to 25, with anything over 25 being overweight. A new study in cancer prevention has recommended keeping a body mass index between 21 and 23.)

  • Make healthy food choices Limit consumption of energy-dense foods. Avoid sugary drinks. Eat mostly foods of plant origin.(2) Improve the length and quality of your life with the following recipes:
    • Cookbook from the American Cancer Society
    • Recipes from the Center for Disease Control
    • Recipe Corner from the American Institute of Cancer Research
  • Exercise regularly Studies find that people who exercise lower their cancer risk. But most research points out that the exercise shouldn't be a stroll through the park. It should be for 30 minutes, at least 3 times a week, and vigorous enough to break a sweat. More

  • Get timely screening tests: Here is a checklist for women, and one for men from the The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) These checklists have been designed to help people understand which medical checkup tests they need to stay healthy at any age, not only to prevent cancer, but any other preventable disease that could impact your health. "Your Checklist for Health" shows at a glance what the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends regarding screening tests, preventive medicine and other healthy lifestyle behaviors.

  • Protect your skin from the sun: Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer that can be fatal if left untreated. Fortunately, most melanomas can be found early and treated successfully. Sun exposure adds up day after day, and it happens whenever you are in the sun, Read the following steps from the American Cancer Society that provide a practical approach to protecting yourself and your family from the effects of the sun.

  • Avoid environmental carcinogens Chemicals and radiation in and around our homes and workplaces play a role in the development of some cancers. Learn more about these risks and how you can reduce them from the American Cancer Society.

  • Avoid, or at least limit alcohol Alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast. Regular consumption of even a few drinks per week is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in women. Those at high risk of breast cancer may want to consider not drinking any alcohol at all. Also, for those who smoke and drink, the combination of alcohol and tobacco increases the risk of cancer far more than the effect of either drinking or smoking alone. (1)
News and Research

Are hair dyes linked with cancer?
A recent study done by an international group of scientists have recently concluded that people regularly exposed to hair dyes in their work have an increased risk of bladder cancer. Personal use of hair dyes, however, did not appear to be significantly linked to increased cancer risk. The Lancet Oncology, April 2008

  • Editor's Note: Many studies have looked at the personal use of hair dyes as a possible risk factor for various types of cancer. Here is a summary of the research from the American Cancer Society(3)

Dietary patterns can lower ovarian cancer risk significantly
A recent study found that women who had diets high in fiber, fruits and vegetables showed a 23% lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who consumed the lowest amounts of these nutrients.
International Journal of Cancer, Feb 2008

Obesity linked to increased risk for six cancers
According to a recent report, excess body fat is on course to overtake tobacco as the leading risk factor for cancer in America. Furthermore, the cancer risk increases with only modest weight gain. In this analysis, excess body fat was found to be associated with an increased incidence of cancers of the colon, kidney, and pancreas, adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and endometrium, and breast cancer in postmenopausal women. World Cancer Research Fund, American Institute for Cancer Research, October 2007

The American Cancer Society recommends MRI screening for women with lifetime breast cancer risk of 20%
Calculate your Lifetime Risk with this tool.
Note: Always discuss these results with your doctor. There are different risk models. Each one is imperfect and provides only an approximate estimate of risk. The tool should not be used to calculate breast cancer risk for women who have already had a diagnosis of breast cancer or for women known to have breast cancer-producing mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

References
(1) American Cancer Society
(2) "Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective" World Cancer Research Fund, American Institute for Cancer Research, 2007
(3) Hair Dye from the American Cancer Society

Written by N Thompson, RN, MSN, ARNP, Last updated March 2008

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