You can take one easy step to reduce your risk of getting either of the two most lethal cancers.
Although treatment protocols and survival rates have improved greatly, cancer still causes fear in the hearts of many. The good thing is that you can take steps to lower your risk of getting the most lethal cancers, specifically by avoiding the number one preventable cause. Keep reading to find out what the most important thing a person can do right now is.
“If you are talking about the deadliest malignancy, pancreatic cancer would be the winner, hands down,” says Kurtis A. Campbell, MD. “Around 50,000 people will get cancer in the pancreas this year, and almost all of them will lose the fight. The five-year rate of survival is only about 7%.” Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the Supreme Court Justice, died of this cancer last year.
If you look at it a different way, lung cancer would be the most lethal. This is because more people in the United States die from cancer in their lungs than any other type of cancer. “Estimated around 250,000 people will get lung cancer this year alone,” says Campbell. “It is by far the most common, and has the greatest number of deaths.”
The things you can do to help lower your risk of both types are very similar.
Genetics has a major role in the development of both pancreatic and lung cancer. Which you can’t change. The number one factor to help prevent both cancers is stop using tobacco. “Especially for lung cancer, if you quit smoking, you greatly lessen your risk. Tobacco use is not as directly connected to pancreatic cancer, but there is definitely a link.”
If you are having a hard time quitting smoking, a doctor can prescribe medications that can help stop the habit.
Other than cutting out tobacco, there are other things you can do to lower your risk of both lung and pancreatic cancer, says Campbell. Which include the following:
- Follow a healthy diet. Enjoy a rich variety of vegetables and fruits which can provide natural phytochemicals and antioxidants that might be protective against cancer. You should stay away from processed and red meats and sugary drinks.
- Stay physically active. Exercising regularly also helps lower the risk of many cancers. The ACS suggests 75 minutes of intense weekly activity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
- Maintain a healthy weight. “Being overweight has been connected to developing many cancers. Mainly, GI cancers, such as stomach, colon, and pancreatic,” says Campbell.
- Avoid developing type 2 diabetes. “People who are diabetic are at greater risk for contracting pancreatic cancer,” says Campbell. “New-onset diabetes can also be a marker of early stage pancreatic cancer.” The first three tips in this list can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Drink alcohol moderately or not at all. There are studies that link extreme alcohol use to developing pancreatic cancer, says the American Cancer Society. It suggests staying away from alcohol or only drinking in moderation.
Author: Blake Ambrose