Saturday, October 4, 2008

Slash Cancer Risk in Minutes a Day

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I'm going to be posting interesting facts and articles about Breast Cancer, throughout the month of October.  The more we know, the better chance we have to educate one another, reduce our risk and find a cure.

Well, the first article comes from the October issue of Self magazine.  This article entitled, "Slash Cancer Risk in Minutes a Day," gives us some great ways to make little changes in our lifestyles that can lower the odds of getting cancer.  Some keep points are:

  1. Stay weight wise - Excess pounds boost cancer risk.

  2. Nibble a bit of chocolate - Researchers have discovered a compound in dark chocolate that fights fast-growing cancers such as colorectal cancer.

  3. Practice peace - High levels of the stress hormone cortisol may inhibit a key gene from suppressing tumor growth.

  4. Bake, don't burn - Grilling beef, poultry and fish until it's charred to a crisp can turn amino acids and other substances in the meat into heterocyclic amines (HCAs), compounds that have been linked to cancer.

  5. Avoid needless tests - Those full-body computed tomography scans you sometimes see at the mall are bad news: CT scans deliver a dose of radiation 50 to 200 times that of a conventional X-ray.

  6. Steal these secrets - Cancer rates in some countries are significantly lower than in the United States, and many experts attribute this to the lifestyles of people in these areas. Adopt these disease-fighting behaviors from afar:

    Spice things up. In India, where breast cancer rates are about five times lower than in the United States, people cook with an abundance of cancer-fighting spices such as cumin, ginger and turmeric.

    Go for whole grains. Finland natives are known for eating loads of dark rye and other whole-grain breads, which likely contributes to their low colorectal cancer rates.

    Kick butts. West Africans smoke much less than Americans, which may in part explain why their rates of esophageal cancer are about 60 times lower than ours.

  7. Cut back on coffee - The number of esophageal cancer cases has jumped 300 percent in the past 20 years. A primary cause: chronic reflux, which bathes the throat in stomach acids that can erode tissue.

  8. Ponder the Pill carefully - Research on the link between birth control pills and cancer reveals the contraceptive can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, women who took the Pill for 15 years cut their risk for ovarian and endometrial cancer by more than half.  On the other hand, Pill takers may have a slightly elevated risk for breast and cervical cancer.

  9. Be sunscreen-savvy - Melanoma rates among young women jumped 50 percent between 1980 and 2004.

  10. Ask about daily aspirin - It's not only for heart disease: One a day reduced estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer risk by 16 percent, NCI research finds.

  11. Beware false promises - At least 25 companies have misleadingly marketed products containing ingredients like shark cartilage, exotic mushrooms and wild yam as cancer treatments or preventatives, prompting the FDA to issue a warning this summer.

For the complete article, please click here for

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