“An ounce of prevention, is better than a pound of cure.” (Benjamin Franklin) This may be the most hackneyed expression you encounter everyday but it still proves to be as real as it can get, because, in truth, it takes less effort and money to prevent future diseases, such as cancer, than curing it.
Cancer treatment is expensive. It not only takes a toll on your health, emotions, family, but in your pockets as well. According to the research made by costprojection.cancer.gov on the annualized mean net costs of care by age, gender, and phase of care (per patient) in 2010, the initial cost of cancer treatment after diagnosis would range from as low as 5,000 USD to as high as 112,000 USD per year. It can also be seen that for the years of survival, the annual cost would range from 900 USD to 12,000 USD. This is a stark reality that everyone who are at risk are facing.
Who are at risk for developing cancer in the future?
There is no absolute way of knowing whether a person would acquire cancer in the long run, some develop it and some don’t. Even a person who has done everything in his will and power to keep this at bay are at the same footing with another who is not conscious or lacks the interest in preventing this disease. In short, no one is spared until he is truly spared.
Plenty of research has been done in order to determine who are at more risk of developing cancer in the future. There are intrinsic and extrinsic factors that may lead a person to be at greater risk of having cancer in the future:
Intrinsic factors are the ones that no one has control of, such as
- Age – Cancer may take years of developing, that’s why most are diagnosed at mean age of 50. But there are still cases that are diagnosed in the young ones.
- Family history – Genes can play a significant role in one’s health. If your family has a history of cancer, this genetic mutations may be passed on to you.
Extrinsic factors are the ones that can be controlled somehow, like
- Exposure to chemical and substances – Work hazards can put you at risk. Frequent and prolonged exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and radiation increases the chances of developing cancer.
- Environment – High amounts of exposure to sunlight can also increase your risk of cancer. Even when you do not smoke, being around people who does and inhaling secondhand cigarette smoke will increase your risk. Some chemicals found in the home, such as asbestos and benzene, are also contributing factors
- Lifestyle – Tobacco and alcohol use are the most common habits that will lead to developing, as well as obesity and practicing unsafe sex.
It may seem quite overwhelming knowing these risk factors, but it would definitely help you and your family lower your risk for having cancer in the future if you avoid the factors that you can be in control of.
Preventing Cancer in the Home
Everyone deserves a chance to a life lived in full and having the best of health in this life. Lower the risk in your life, and your family too by following these tips:
This would be your first line of defense against developing cancer. Since eating right would entail consciously choosing what you buy and what you cook, eliminating cancer-causing produce in your pantry is the first thing you should do. Think of it this way: eat food that are made of plants, avoid those that are made in plants. Preservative-laden and instant food are also a big no-no, go green and choose items that provide color on your plate. Eat whole grain and avoid white bread, pasta, and food that contain high amounts of sugar such as chocolates and cookies. Skip canned goods as these have bisphenol-A (BPA), which are linked to reproductive health and fetal development problems.
Be smoke and alcohol-free.
Hard as it may be for chronic smokers and alcohol drinkers but this can save you from further health costs that you are already investing in when buying that pack of cigarette or that case of beer. There are many resources now that can provide you with tips to help you finally put that cigarette down. But the best help that you can get is from yourself, by believing that you can and having that drive to live a healthier lifestyle. If you have a family, quitting cigarettes and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption can benefit them as well. You will no longer expose them to the dangers of secondhand smoke and by living a long and healthy life, save all of you from the long-term and costly battle against cancer.
Cook fresh food.
Cooking fresh food, although more time-consuming, would reduce your risk of getting cancer. Create a meal plan for the week and cook dishes using fresh produce. Should you need to use the microwave, see to it that you’re heating food in containers marked as microwave-safe.
Simplify your cleaning supplies.
By reducing your exposure to environmental and chemical toxins found in household chemical cleaners, you lower the risk of developing cancer. Consciously avoid purchasing cleaning products and air fresheners that contain synthetic musks, phtalates, benzene, formaldehyde and phenol, as these chemicals are known to add up the risk of cancer due to prolonged and constant exposure. Using baking soda, apple cider vinegar, 3% hydrogen peroxide in cleaning the home are more safe and can do as much disinfecting as any commercial cleaner could do.
Cancer is a tough disease to battle, but you and your family can take steps to lessen your risks. You can begin doing so by taking practical and simple health and lifestyle changes in the home.