Wellness Wednesday – Week 18

Are you at risk for Gynecologic Cancer?

According to an article from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, roughly 71,500 women in the United States are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer each year.  The risk of cancer increases with age.  Endometrial/uterine cancer affects more than 52,000 women annually in the United States.

Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife.  Most cases are found in women under the age of 50, and it is linked to human papilloma viruses.

Endometrial cancer is rare for women under the age of 45; most cases are found in women over 50.

Ovarian cancer affects up to 5% of women who have it in their family histories.  It has the highest mortality of the gynecologic cancers, killing more than 14,000 women annually in the United States.

Take Preventive Action

Make healthy choices for yourself!  Eat a well-balanced diet; maintain an active lifestyle; quit or avoid smoking; maintain a healthy weight; and follow safe sex practices.

Pay attention to your body.  Some common warning signs for ovarian cancer are abdominal bloating; indigestion or nausea; changes in appetite; feeling pressure in the pelvis or lower back; changes in bowel movements; increased abdominal girth, and feeling tired or having low energy.

Make time for an annual physical.  Educate yourself on your health history and your family’s health history.  Having close relatives on either side of the family who have had ovarian cancer increases a woman’s chance of developing ovarian cancer.

Eat Healthy
Reduce your risk for cancer by improving your diet.  New research shows that as many as one-third of all cancer deaths are linked to diet and physical activity.

You have the power to change your eating habits.
Start by reducing dietary fat intake, especially animal fat.  Make your diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains.

Start small
No one can overhaul food habits quickly.  Add a few servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet each day to reduce your cancer risk.  Mix some dark, leafy greens like spinach in with your salad.  Eat a peach, or other brightly colored fruit, for a snack.

Limit alcohol
Alcohol consumption is linked to increased risk of mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast cancers.  If you drink alcohol, men should try to drink no more than two drinks a day, and women should try to drink no more than one drink a day.

Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat
Eating too much red meat can increase your cancer risk.  Skip processed meats such as bacon, ham, pastrami, salami, sausage, hot dogs, and pepperoni.  Choose fish, poultry or beans instead of beef, pork or lamb.  When you eat meat, choose lean cuts, and eat smaller portions.  Prepare meat by baking, broiling or poaching at lower temperatures, rather than by frying in fat or broiling/grilling at excessively high temperatures.

Resource: http://preventcancer.org/prevention/reduce-cancer-risk/ways-to-reduce-risk/eat-healthy/

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