Take everyday steps to help lower your risk
Every April the American Cancer Society and other organizations work together to raise awareness about cancer among minorities in honor of National Minority Health Month and National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, celebrated this year April 15-21.
Cancer affects different populations differently, and minority groups in the U.S. continue to bear a greater cancer burden than whites. Much of this difference is due to factors like poverty and lack of access to prevention and detection services, along with high-quality treatment, according to a report in Cancer Facts & Figures 2013, a yearly American Cancer Society (ACS) publication. For instance, African Americans and Hispanics in the U.S. have higher poverty rates than whites and are less likely to have health insurance, making it harder for them to get the care they need.
ACS recommend several everyday steps everyone can take to help reduce their cancer risk or improve their chances of beating the disease if they do get it:
• Get regular cancer screening tests. Regular screening tests can catch some cancers early, when they’re more treatable. With a few cancers, these tests can even prevent cancer from developing in the first place. Talk with your doctor about the tests for colon, lung, prostate, breast, and cervical cancers.
• Control your weight. Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for many cancers, including breast, colon, uterine, esophageal and kidney cancer. You can control your weight by exercising regularly and eating more healthfully.
• Exercise regularly. Even if you’re already at a healthy weight, getting regular exercise is important. Physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of several types of cancer, including breast, colon, and advanced prostate cancer. It also reduces the risk of other serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease. ACS recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week.
• Eat healthfully. Eat at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables (including legumes) and fruits each day. Choose whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals over those made from refined grains. Eat less processed meat such as bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, and hot dogs. Substitute ﬁsh, poultry, or beans for red meat like beef, pork, and lamb. Also, you can bake, broil, or poach meats rather than frying or charbroiling.
• Stop smoking. Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body, is linked to at least 15 different cancers, and accounts for some 30 percent of all cancer deaths. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your loved ones.
For more tips on how lower your risk for cancer, visit ACS’s website at http://www.cancer.org.
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