Every February, throughout National Cancer Prevention month, patients, advocates, specialists, clinics, friends and family members around the country and world raise awareness and educate others of the various treatments, diagnosis, research, care and preventative health measures related to cancer. The Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center recommends a few wellness tips of their own to remember this National Cancer Prevention Month.
Although a harsh reality, one in three women and one in two men are diagnosed with cancer each year and plenty of such cancers are even preventable including lung cancer, skin cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer and mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma, is an aggressive cancer which affects the lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen of which approximately 3,000 new diagnoses are confirmed each year. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma which forms in the lining of the lungs, peritoneal mesothelioma being the next most common type of mesothelioma which forms in the abdominal lining, followed by the rarest form, pericardial mesothelioma which develops in the lining of the heart. Mesothelioma is entirely preventable as exposure to asbestos is the only scientifically proven cause of mesothelioma. Only when ingested or when asbestos fibers become airborne and inhaled, can the fibers attach to the lining of the lungs, to develop mesothelioma between 10-15 years later.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and throat. They can be life threatening if not diagnosed or treated early and can be definition and prevention methods. The American cancer society recommends avoiding risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, HPV infection and more.
Cervical Cancer Begins when cells in lining the cervix in the lower part of the uterus or womb, often referred to as the uterine cervix, grow out of control. Most cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) which can be transmitted by having sexual contact with someone who has it. Cervical cancer is the “easiest” female cancer to prevent with the HPV vaccine and regular medical screening tests and follow-up appointments as it is highly curable if detected and treated early-on.
Skin cancer is known as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. When unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (often by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds) is triggers mutations or genetic defects which lead to rapid skin cell multiplication and malignant tumors. The three main types of skin cancer include squamous skin cancers, basal cell skin cancer and melanomas although there are other types of skin cancer such as merkel cell carcinoma, kaposi sarcoma, cutaneous lymphoma, skin adnexal tumors and various types of sarcomas. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid and protect yourself from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays as well as the use of indoor tanning beds and sun lamps.
Lung cancer: Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in either one or both of the lungs. Such cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue, rather tumors interfering with the functioning of the lung in providing oxygen to the body via the blood. Although there is no way to prevent lung cancer, there are significant ways to reduce the risk of lung cancer. With 4% of all lung cancer diagnoses, due to asbestos exposure, preventative measures include avoiding exposure to asbestos, avoiding secondhand smoke and smoking overall, test your home for radon, avoid carcinogens in the workplace, eat a rich diet of fruits and vegetables and exercise to keep lungs strong and healthy.
Conclusion: Although these are just a few cancers, there are underlying health benefits of being informed and aware of them and how to prevent and limit the risks of each. For additional information, visit a health professional and continue to inform yourself of the many ways to prevent the risks of cancer. Most importantly, connect closely with your friends, family members and caregivers who have been touched in some way. We can all learn a little something from them, whether it’s health, wellness or inspiration related.
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