7 SIMPLE SURVIVAL STRATEGIES
Welcome to #FACTUAL FRIDAY everyone. June is NATIONAL CANCER SURVIVORS MONTH – and the perfect time to REFLECT on our personal journeys while we CELEBRATE our victories.
We have come SO FAR in turning the tide on cancer. When I was diagnosed with my first cancer twenty years ago, the state of research and treatment on this disease were just beginning to gain speed. And, over the last few decades research and treatment have improved dramatically – as have the enormous numbers of individuals surviving cancers of every type.
Today, over 99 percent of males diagnosed with prostate cancer are expected to survive. Over 90 percent of females with breast cancer are expected to survive. Over 98 percent of individuals diagnosed with thyroid cancer are expected to survive. Over 93 percent of those with melanoma are expected to survive. And, from 1991 to 2012 cancer-related deaths in the United States declined 23 percent – and the decline continues.
We are beginning to WIN THE WAR ON CANCER. And, in this month of Celebration, let’s all remind ourselves of some of the most important basic things we can do to protect our health on a daily basis.
7 ESSENTIAL LIFESTYLE TIPS TO BEATING (AND PREVENTING) CANCER:
- EAT SMART. Our motto is, “Cut the fat — add the fiber.” First, cut the fat by eating less red meat with a high fat content like beef, lamb and pork — and eat more lean meats like chicken and seafood. The lean meats are loaded with protein and many also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the body’s stress hormone, cortisol. As to the fiber, add more fruits and veggies to your diet. They are loaded with fiber that aids digestion and moves disease-causing toxins and bacteria out of our bodies. Both are rich in vitamins C and A, nutrients like magnesium and iron AND carotenoids. In addition, fruits in particular contain large amounts of antioxidants, which fight cancer growth by protecting our bodies from harmful oxidation and free radicals. Four or five servings of these powerhouse foods every day will help us survive, thrive and keep cancer at bay.
- FORGET THE SUPPLEMENTS. The vitamins, nutrients and minerals we need to feed our bodies should come from the foods we consume – not supplements. There are benefits to some supplements, but as far as offering protection from cancer, vitamin D is the only supplement that so far appears to be helpful. Specifically, evidence shows vitamin D offers us protection from skin cancer. Otherwise, depend on your diet for nutritional benefits. And, remember that supplements are just that – supplements – not substitutes.
- LIMIT ALCOHOL. Alcohol misuse is related to many different cancers, including breast, stomach, liver and esophageal cancer. Take care to limit your daily consumption of alcohol. Keep your portions small and your refills infrequent. You see, excessive alcohol use can deplete the body of vitamins and minerals that are necessary to a strong immune system. Known as the “leaching effect,” by reducing our alcohol intake we will increase our body strength and stamina – both so important in fighting off illness and disease.
- ELIMINATE TOBACCO USE. Once again, tobacco use is linked to so many illnesses and diseases we simply can’t list them all here. Specifically, tobacco is linked to several cancers, including lung, breast, cervical, esophageal, pancreatic and kidney cancer. And, we’re not just talking about cigarette smoking. Tobacco use includes pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and second-hand smoke — all in addition to personal cigarette use. This is the single most important survival tip we can discuss. Indeed, if we could eliminate tobacco use in the United States we would reduce the number of cancer-related deaths by one-third each year.
- EXERCISE. Of course, we need exercise. But, we’re not talking about tight buns or toned abs. We’re talking about the physical well-being and mental clarity we gain from simply moving. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial. Walk for 15 or 30 minutes a day – do some stretches – run in place – vacuum the house – work in the garden. Just move! Doing so reduces stress and increases our feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Moderate exercise will fight depression, elevate our mood, keep our brain fit and our immune system strong. That’s how we fight cancer!
- DRINK YOUR WATER. The power of H2O is amazing. Water is the most abundant chemical compound in the human body. In fact, it accounts for roughly 70 percent of every cell in our body. Water carries nutrients to those cells and flushes toxins from our system. It feeds our muscles and boosts our mood. It improves brain function and memory while decreasing anxiety and mental fatigue. Aim for 8 large glasses every day – and remember that leafy veggies and juicy fruits always add to your water intake.
- KNOW YOUR RISKS AND ACT. There are many causes of cancer. Most, however, are considered to be “multi-factorial,” which means most are linked to several different factors. Heredity and family medical history. Personal medical history. Occupation. Skin and eye coloring. Viruses. Medical procedures. Do your homework. Find out which cancers appear to be risks for you. Then, talk to your physician and come up with a strategy of preventive care – and stick to it! BE PRO-ACTIVE!
Yes, I know I often sound like a broken record 😊 These are Simple Survival Strategies with which most of us are very familiar. Yet, they bear repeating – again and again. Because, understanding their importance is essential to surviving and maintaining good health for everyone – for those fighting cancer, recovering from cancer or trying to prevent cancer.
So, let me wish you all a Happy CANCER SURVIVORS MONTH. Thanks again for joining me everyone. Until next time, I’m sending you HEAPS OF LOVE. Keep up the GOOD FIGHT and . . .